Cultural Barriers and Mental Borders: Multicultural Experience Facilitates Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
28 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2006
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
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