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July 04, 2010

New research: Experiencing different cultures enhances creativity

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Creativity can be enhanced by experiencing cultures different from one's own, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Three studies looked at students who had lived abroad and those who hadn't, testing them on different aspects of creativity. Relative to a control group, which hadn't experienced a different culture, participants in the different culture group provided more evidence of creativity in various standard tests of the trait. Those results suggest that multicultural learning is a critical component of the adaptation process, acting as a creativity catalyst.

The researchers believe that the key to the enhanced creativity was related to the students' open-minded approach in adapting to the new culture. In a global world, where more people are able to acquire multicultural experiences than ever before, this research indicates that living abroad can be even more beneficial than previously thought.

Click here to see an abstract of the research or to download the full text.

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