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Article

The role of code-switching in bilingual creativity

This study further explores the theme of bilingual creativity with the present focus on code-switching. Specifically, it investigates whether code-switching practice has an impact on creativity. In line with the previous research, selective attention was proposed as a potential cognitive mechanism, which on the one hand would benefit from extensive code-switching, and on the other, facilitate creative performance. One hundred and fifty seven multilingual college students completed a code-switching attitudes and behaviors questionnaire, which served to select habitual and non-habitual code-switchers. These respective groups were compared on creativity and selective attention tests. Habitual code-switchers demonstrated greater innovative capacity than their non-habitual counterparts. However, these groups revealed no difference in selective attention. Moreover, the relationship between selective attention and innovative capacity was found only among non-habitual code-switchers. Further, code-switching induced by a particular emotional state and by a lack of specific vocabulary in a target language appeared to relate to increase in innovative capacity. The discussion of these results lays foundation for further empirical research investigating the role of bilinguals’ code-switching in their creative capacity.