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Cultural barriers and mentals borders: living in and adapting to foreign cultures facilitates creativity

Author: Maddux, William W. ; Galinsky, Adam D.INSEAD Area: Organisational Behaviour Series: Working Paper ; 2007/51/OB Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2007.Language: EnglishDescription: 48 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working PaperAbstract: Despite abundant anecdotal evidence that creativity is associated with experience in or exposure to different cultures, there is currently little empirical evidence for this relationship. The authors systematically explored this foreign culture ?? creativity link using a multi-method approach across five studies. Studies 1 and 2 provided initial demonstrations, on both individual and dyadic creativity tasks, that individuals who had spent time spent living abroad were more creative than those who had not. Study 3 demonstrated the causal effect of foreign living experience in a priming paradigm involving participants who had previously lived abroad. Study 4 demonstrated that the degree to which individuals had adapted to different cultures while living abroad mediated the link between foreign living experience and creativity. Finally, Study 5 verified the causal role of adaptation in producing increased creativity. Overall, we find that living in and adapting to different cultures produces the serendipitous benefit of enhanced creative abilities. Implications for our understanding of creative cognition and cultural psychology are discussed.
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INSEAD Working Paper Asia Campus
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Print Available BC008006
INSEAD Working Paper Europe Campus
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Print Available BC008005
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Despite abundant anecdotal evidence that creativity is associated with experience in or exposure to different cultures, there is currently little empirical evidence for this relationship. The authors systematically explored this foreign culture ?? creativity link using a multi-method approach across five studies. Studies 1 and 2 provided initial demonstrations, on both individual and dyadic creativity tasks, that individuals who had spent time spent living abroad were more creative than those who had not. Study 3 demonstrated the causal effect of foreign living experience in a priming paradigm involving participants who had previously lived abroad. Study 4 demonstrated that the degree to which individuals had adapted to different cultures while living abroad mediated the link between foreign living experience and creativity. Finally, Study 5 verified the causal role of adaptation in producing increased creativity. Overall, we find that living in and adapting to different cultures produces the serendipitous benefit of enhanced creative abilities. Implications for our understanding of creative cognition and cultural psychology are discussed.

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