Enhancing Creativity Through Multiculturalism

Some interesting research on creativity and multiculturalism from Singapore:

In one study, Professor Leung exposed European American undergraduates to one of these three conditions using a 45-minute multi-media slideshow:

  1. single culture through presenting pictures of items that depicted either the American culture e.g., the Statue of Liberty, a hamburger or the Chinese culture e.g., the Great Wall, hotpot dinner on each slide;
  2. dual cultures through presenting pictures of items that depicted American culture and pictures that depicted Chinese culture on each slide; and,
  3. fusion of cultures e.g., a picture of Starbucks’ mid-Autumn festival mooncakes.

She found that participants demonstrated better creative performance when exposed to dual cultures and fusion of cultures, compared to those who were exposed to a single culture. Their creative performance persisted five to seven days after initial exposure.

“Initially, I thought those who were exposed to the fusion culture would perform the best. But the tendency was that those who were exposed to two different cultures showed more creativity. Perhaps the exposure to separate cultures gave them the space to engage in cognitive juxtaposition of the ideas from the respective cultures. When they seek to actively compare and contrast the presented cultures, they delve deeper into the different cultural representations and receive more creative inspirations,” she says.

Another significant finding from her research was that while multicultural individuals tended to be more creative, other considerations had to be taken into account, such as how open and receptive an individual was to new experiences.

Enhancing Creativity Through Multiculturalism | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia.

Werner Herzog on Creativity, Self-Reliance, Making a Living of What You Love, and How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality

For film fans, and fans of Werner Herzog, a good selection of quotes from the book, A Guide for the Perplexed. My favourite on the creative process:

The problem isn’t coming up with ideas, it is how to contain the invasion. My ideas are like uninvited guests. They don’t knock on the door; they climb in through the windows like burglars who show up in the middle of the night and make a racket in the kitchen as they raid the fridge. I don’t sit and ponder which one I should deal with first. The one to be wrestled to the floor before all others is the one coming at me with the most vehemence. I have, over the years, developed methods to deal with the invaders as quickly and efficiently as possible, though the burglars never stop coming. You invite a handful of friends for dinner, but the door bursts open and a hundred people are pushing in. You might manage to get rid of them, but from around the corner another fifty appear almost immediately… Finishing a film is like having a great weight lifted from my shoulders. It’s relief, not necessarily happiness. But you relish dealing with these “burglars.” I am glad to be rid of them after making a film or writing a book. The ideas are uninvited guests, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t welcome.

Werner Herzog on Creativity, Self-Reliance, Making a Living of What You Love, and How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting

For something lighter and yet deeper today, and for the Leonard Cohen fans among us, a nice selection of Cohen quotes on the creative process:

I’m writing all the time. And as the songs begin to coalesce, I’m not doing anything else but writing. I wish I were one of those people who wrote songs quickly. But I’m not. So it takes me a great deal of time to find out what the song is. So I’m working most of the time.[…]

To find a song that I can sing, to engage my interest, to penetrate my boredom with myself and my disinterest in my own opinions, to penetrate those barriers, the song has to speak to me with a certain urgency.

To be able to find that song that I can be interested in takes many versions and it takes a lot of uncovering.

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting | Brain Pickings.