Going Abroad Linked to Creativity
Source: American Psychological Association website, Apr 2009
Living in another country can be a cherished experience, but new research suggests it might also help expand minds. This research, published by the American Psychological Association, is the first of its kind to look at the link between living abroad and creativity.
In both studies, time spent traveling abroad did not matter; only living abroad was related to creativity.
Maddux and Galinsky then ran a follow-up study to see why living abroad was related to creativity. With a group of MBA students at INSEAD in France, they found that the more students had adapted themselves to the foreign cultures when they lived abroad, the more likely they were to solve the Duncker candle task.
“This shows us that there is some sort of psychological transformation that needs to occur when people are living in a foreign country in order to enhance creativity. This may happen when people work to adapt themselves to a new culture,” said Galinsky.
“This research may have something to say about the increasing impact of globalization on the world, a fact that has been hammered home by the recent financial crisis,” said Maddux. “Knowing that experiences abroad are critical for creative output makes study abroad programs and job assignments in other countries that much more important, especially for people and companies that put a premium on creativity and innovation to stay competitive.“