Revisiting the Multicultural Experience–Creativity Link: The Effects of Perceived Cultural Distance and Comparison Mind-Set

Cheng, C-Y. & Leung, A.K. (2012). Revisiting the Multicultural Experience–Creativity Link: The Effects of Perceived Cultural Distance and Comparison Mind-Set. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 1948550612462413, first published on October 16, 2012.

Abstract: A growing literature provides evidence for the multicultural experience–creativity link such that exposure to the juxtaposition of two cultures facilitates individual creativity. The underlying mechanisms for this relationship, however, are still far from being well explored. Drawing upon the novel perspective of motivated cognition, we hypothesize that two factors interact to affect creative outcomes: (a) perceived cultural distance between the two juxtaposed cultures, and (b) comparison mind-sets. Specifically, we argue that individuals’ creative performance will be increased only when a difference mind-set is employed to process the cultural stimuli that are sufficiently different from each other. In two studies, individuals exposed to dual cultural primes with higher levels of perceived cultural distance consistently performed more adeptly in creative insight tasks when they personally predisposed to or experimentally manipulated to adopt a difference (vs. similarity) mind-set. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Excerpt:  When facing the unprecedented worldwide trend of accelerating globalization, we are presented with both challenges and opportunities.  On one hand, we need to step out from our comfort zone to make contacts with foreign cultures that may be strikingly different from our own; on the other hand, sufficient exposure to foreign cultures, coupled with an experiential cultural learning mind-set, offers us the opportunity to sharpen our competitive advantage. Enhanced creativity is one important benefit of immersion in another culture in this era of globalization.

It is evident that creativity is essential for personal and professional success.  The creative cognition approach suggests that the acquisition of different knowledge systems is precursory to the generation of creative ideas (Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992; Ward, Smith, & Vaid, 1997).  In this century, the acceleration of globalization is creating ample opportunities for multicultural navigators to acquire new cultural knowledge systems (Chiu & Hong, 2006; Leung, Chen, & Chiu, 2011), which according to the creative cognition account is largely conducive to motivating the critical process of synthesizing seemingly incompatible ideas and providing the cognitive catalyst for creativity...


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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Oct 01 2012, 12:00 AM by brendah
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