Multi-competence as a creative act: Ramifications of multi-competence paradigm for creativity research and creativity fostering education
The specific structure of multilingual memory may facilitate language mediated concept activation, which in turn may ensure a simultaneous activation of often unrelated concepts. At the same time, multilingual practice may encourage inhibition and facilitation mechanisms of selective attention. These mechanisms seem to play an important role in divergent and convergent thinking, and thereby foster an individual’s creative performance. In addition, there is evidence that creative personality traits such as cognitive flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity, openness to new experience, and motivation can be developed as a result of multilingual practice. The proposed cognitive mechanisms and personality traits appear to benefit from multi-competence aspects such as proficiency in languages an individual uses, age of acquisition of these languages, circumstances and extent to which an individual switches between these languages, the sociocultural environment and emotional context in which these languages are acquired and used. It is evident that empirical data suggesting the links between multi-competence and creativity is highly scattered and often speculative. Overall, multilingual creativity lacks systematic research, especially any focusing on variation in multilinguals’ creative capacities. Therefore, a systematic investigation of the proposed and possibly other factors in multilingual creativity is required.