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To Be More Creative, Try Living Abroad
Date:5/22/2009

ving abroad were more likely to reach a deal that demanded creative insight.

Living abroad, not just traveling abroad, was key, the study found. And the more students had adapted themselves to the foreign culture, 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," said the study's co-author Adam Galinsky from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. "This may happen when people work to adapt themselves to a new culture."

In a final test, the researchers asked a group of students to recall time spent living abroad or adapting to a new culture. Another group was asked to write about other experiences, such as going to the supermarket, learning a new sport or simply observing but not adapting to a new culture.

The results showed that priming students to mentally recreate their past experiences living abroad or adapting to a new culture caused them, at least temporarily, to be more creative. For example, these students drew space aliens and solved word games more creatively than students primed to recall other experiences.

More information

The Web site CreativityForLife.com has more on creativity.



-- Jennifer Thomas



SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, April 2009


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