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Article

The role of bilingualism in creative performance on divergent thinking and invented alien creatures tests

Journal of Creative Behavior. 2009. Vol. 43. No. 1. P. 59-71.

This study continues the effort to investigate the possible influence of bilingualism on an individual's creative potential. The performances of Farsi‐English bilinguals living in the UAE and Farsi monolinguals living in Iran were compared on the Culture Fair Intelligence Test battery and two creativity tests: divergent thinking test (the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults) and structured imagination test (Invented Alien Creatures task). The findings of the divergent thinking test revealed that bilingualism facilitates the innovative capacity, the ability to extract novel and unique ideas, but not the generative capacity, the ability to generate and process a large number of unrelated ideas. The findings of the test of structured imagination demonstrated that bilingualism strengthens an ability to violate a standard set of category properties. In addition, the study hints at the construct validity of these two tests of creative functioning. However, the study acknowledges its rather exploratory character as the bilingual and monolingual groups might differ in a number of uncontrolled sociocultural factors that could potentially mediate the effect of bilingualism.