Scientific article

Multicultural experience and multilingualism as predictors of creativity

Published inThe international journal of bilingualism, vol. 25, no. 5, p. 1486-1494
Publication date2021-06-18
First online date2021-06-18

Aims and objectives: Past research has shown that multicultural experience and multilingualism can be positively associated with creativity. However, very few studies have focused simultaneously on all these variables. Our aim is to consider both sets of predictors simultaneously, clarifying whether the impact of these variables on creativity is cumulative or redundant. Design/methodology/approach: The design combines correlational and quasi-experimental approaches. It is also strongly multivariate and includes various measurement methods. Variables of interest were assessed with questionnaires ( N = 596) and creativity tasks ( N = 174) in laboratory settings. The scope of the study, therefore, is relatively large and encompasses several indicators. Data and analysis: We use multiple regressions with latent and manifest variables. Latent variables were constructed for all sets of key predictors (multilingualism, traveling experience, living abroad experience); predictors were regressed on four types of creativity variables, also latent in most cases (creative potential; creative interests, activities, and achievements; creative performance in a writing task; creative performance on a remote association task). Findings/conclusions: Results shows that both multicultural experience and multilingualism are positively related with various manifestations of creativity. Overall, the results indicate complementary effects of multicultural experience and multilingualism on creativity. The most robust predictors are multilingualism and variables representing deep immersion in foreign countries. Originality: Three features make this study unique: (a) it examines both multilingualism and multiculturalism; (b) the sample population is broader than in most studies, which often focus on migrant populations; and (c) it implements a multimethod operationalization of creativity. Significance/implications: The paper goes beyond received approaches to the link between human diversity and creativity; the analysis is put in relation with other research work that focuses on policy implications for diversity, particularly in the areas of bilingualism and bicultural identity. Implications regarding the connections between creativity, multilingualism, and general executive functioning are also discussed.

  • Multilingualism
  • Multicultural experience
  • Creativity
  • Bilingualism
  • Bicultural identity
Citation (ISO format)
FUERST, Guillaume, GRIN, François. Multicultural experience and multilingualism as predictors of creativity. In: The international journal of bilingualism, 2021, vol. 25, n° 5, p. 1486–1494. doi: 10.1177/13670069211019468
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1367-0069

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