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Cultural Barriers and Mental Borders: Multicultural Experience Facilitates Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

28 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2006  

William W. Maddux

Northwestern University

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management

Abstract

The current research investigated the hypothesis that multicultural experience facilitates creativity and problem solving. Study 1 was a problem-solving task where the correct solution required recognizing alternative, atypical uses for an object (the Duncker candle problem). Study 2 involved a dyadic negotiation where a creative solution was necessary to bridge a negative financial bargaining zone. In both studies, people who had experience living in foreign countries were more likely than those without such experience to find a creative solution to these problems. Study 3 experimentally manipulated a multicultural mindset and demonstrated that priming individuals to think about a multicultural learning experience enhanced performance on a creative association task. We discuss implications for the effect of multicultural experience on creative cognition and conflict management.

Keywords: Creativity, multicultural experience, cognition, problem solving, negotiations

Suggested Citation

Maddux, William W. and Galinsky, Adam D., Cultural Barriers and Mental Borders: Multicultural Experience Facilitates Creative Thinking and Problem Solving. IACM 2006 Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=905445 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.905445

William W. Maddux (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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