Having lived abroad for a certain time span broadens the mind and gives a tremendous boost to creativity. Everybody who has given it a go (or many for that matter: once hooked on travel there is no looking back for most, no matter how wonderful the return is – time and again !) knows that. Now there is reputable scientific proof too:
William W. Maddux and Adam D. Galinsky write in the
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 96(5), May 2009
Despite abundant anecdotal evidence that creativity is associated with living in foreign countries, there is currently little empirical evidence for this relationship. Five studies employing a multimethod approach systematically explored the link between living abroad and creativity. Using both individual and dyadic creativity tasks, Studies 1 and 2 provided initial demonstrations that time spent living abroad (but not time spent traveling abroad) showed a positive relationship with creativity. Study 3 demonstrated that priming foreign living experiences temporarily enhanced creative tendencies for participants who had previously lived abroad. In Study 4, the degree to which individuals had adapted to different cultures while living abroad mediated the link between foreign living experience and creativity. Study 5 found that priming the experience of adapting to a foreign culture temporarily enhanced creativity for participants who had previously lived abroad. The relationship between living abroad and creativity was consistent across a number of creativity measures (including those measuring insight, association, and generation), as well as with masters of business administration and undergraduate samples, both in the United States and Europe, demonstrating the robustness of this phenomenon.The title links to original article !