The Diversifying Experience Model: Taking a Broader Conceptual View of the Multiculturalism–Creativity Link

Malgorzata Goclowska, Rodica Damian, Shira Mor

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Abstract

We examine the multiculturalism–creativity link from the perspective of diversifying experiences research. Multicultural experiences can be construed as diversifying experiences—highly unusual and unexpected events or situations (e.g., unusual educational experiences, early life adversity) that push individuals outside the frameworks of their ordinary everyday lives, forcing them to embrace new and uncommon ideas. Our review identifies a range of diversifying experiences (e.g., multicultural exposure, unexpected adversity, violations of expectations) that have been found to influence creativity. We introduce the Diversifying Experience Model (DEM), where we argue for a curvilinear relationship between diversifying experiences and creativity, whereby creativity improves as a result of moderate (but not low or high) levels of diversifying experiences. We also propose adaptive personal resources as the key moderator, and threat and challenge appraisals as the key mediators of the diversifying experience–creativity relation. When adaptive resources are high, moderate diversifying experiences are appraised primarily as a challenge, facilitating creativity, whereas when adaptive resources are low, moderate diversifying experiences are appraised primarily as a threat, derailing creativity. This broad and parsimonious theoretical framework can help clarify and expand research on when and why various diversifying experiences (including multicultural experiences) facilitate creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-322
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Volume49
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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Keywords

  • creativity
  • cognitive flexibility
  • divergent thinking
  • diversifying experiences
  • multiculturalism
  • genius

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