Discussion:
Living abroad enhances problem solving
(too old to reply)
Lance
2009-05-20 11:31:13 UTC
Permalink
Travel and creativity

Expats at work
May 14th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Living abroad gives you a creative edge


ANECDOTAL evidence has long held that creativity in artists and
writers can be associated with living in foreign parts. Rudyard
Kipling, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Gauguin, Samuel Beckett
and others spent years dwelling abroad. Now a pair of psychologists
has proved that there is indeed a link.

As they report in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
William Maddux of INSEAD, a business school in Fontainebleau, France,
and Adam Galinsky, of the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago,
presented 155 American business students and 55 foreign ones studying
in America with a test used by psychologists as a measure of
creativity. Given a candle, some matches and a box of drawing pins,
the students were asked to attach the candle to a cardboard wall so
that no wax would drip on the floor when the candle was lit. (The
solution is to use the box as a candleholder and fix it to the wall
with the pins.) They found 60% of students who were either living
abroad or had spent some time doing so, solved the problem, whereas
only 42% of those who had not lived abroad did so.

A follow-up study with 72 Americans and 36 foreigners explored their
creative negotiating skills. Pairs of students were asked to play the
role of a seller of a petrol station who then needed to get a job and
a buyer who would need to hire staff to run the business. The two were
likely to reach an impasse because the buyer had been told he could
not afford what the seller was told was his minimum price.
Nevertheless, where both negotiators had lived abroad 70% struck a
deal in which the seller was offered a management job at the petrol
station in return for a lower asking price. When neither of the
negotiators had lived abroad, none was able to reach a deal.

To check that they had not merely discovered that creative people are
more likely to choose to live abroad, Dr Maddux and Dr Galinsky
identified and measured personality traits, such as openness to new
experiences, that are known to predict creativity. They then used
statistical controls to filter out such factors. Even after that had
been done, the statistical relationship between living abroad and
creativity remained, indicating that it is something from the
experience of living in foreign parts that helps foster creativity.

Merely travelling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live
there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself,
make you Hemingway.

http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13643981
Peter Brooks
2009-05-20 12:34:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lance
Merely travelling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live
there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself,
make you Hemingway.
On the other hand, creative people might be more likely to decide to
live abroad.
pg
2009-05-21 09:08:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Brooks
Post by Lance
Merely travelling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live
there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself,
make you Hemingway.
On the other hand, creative people might be more likely to decide to
live abroad.
Well the piece suggested that this was checked and the results
correspondingly filtered, but I have some doubts. I don't know about
particularly creative people being more inclined to live abroad, but
certainly more independent-minded, adventurous sorts might be expected to
number amongst expats.

On the other hand I can imagine how living abroad might encourage
creativity - adapting to a new, sometimes hostile, certainly less
comfortable (in terms of what is familiar) environment might promote
creative thinking as part of one's armoury to cope with new, challenging
circumstances.

Still, despite living in Provence for a couple of decades, I've yet to
produce a Monet.

pg
Peter Brooks
2009-05-21 14:37:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by pg
Post by Peter Brooks
Post by Lance
Merely travelling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live
there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself,
make you Hemingway.
On the other hand, creative people might be more likely to decide to
live abroad.
Well the piece suggested that this was checked and the results
correspondingly filtered, but I have some doubts. I don't know about
particularly creative people being more inclined to live abroad, but
certainly more independent-minded, adventurous sorts might be expected to
number amongst expats.
Indeed. It depends, of course, in the '30s, you'd have a lot of
refugees from Nazi Germany, in the 2nd half of the 20th Century a lot
of refugees from conscription in the US and apartheid in South Africa
- as well as the usual refugees from war, famine and such-like. Were
circumstances aren't the main factor, I'd expect adventurous spirits
to be a significant part.
Post by pg
On the other hand I can imagine how living abroad might encourage
creativity - adapting to a new, sometimes hostile, certainly less
comfortable (in terms of what is familiar) environment might promote
creative thinking as part of one's armoury to cope with new, challenging
circumstances.
I've long thought that everybody should spend a year or two abroad, it
does wonders for your understanding of people, I agree.
Post by pg
Still, despite living in Provence for a couple of decades, I've yet to
produce a Monet.
Unless you change your name it's unlikely you ever will...
pg
2009-05-21 16:17:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Brooks
Post by pg
Still, despite living in Provence for a couple of decades, I've yet to
produce a Monet.
Unless you change your name it's unlikely you ever will...
I'm not sure that Monet stick men would sell as well though... although I
could probably find some Americans as buyers, without too much effort.

pg
Paul Grieg
2009-05-31 19:03:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lance
Travel and creativity
Expats at work
May 14th 2009
From The Economist print edition
Living abroad gives you a creative edge
ANECDOTAL evidence has long held that creativity in artists and
writers can be associated with living in foreign parts.
Utter rubbish!

Kant never moved from Konigsberg

Proust spent all his time in a cork lined room.in Paris.

Dr Johnson was notorious for not travelling much.

There are endless counter examples (Shakespeare, Newton, Brontes,
Dickens...)

The only commonality between creative people is creativity.
Gary
2009-05-31 22:54:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Grieg
Post by Lance
Travel and creativity
Expats at work
May 14th 2009
From The Economist print edition
Living abroad gives you a creative edge
ANECDOTAL evidence has long held that creativity in artists and
writers can be associated with living in foreign parts.
Utter rubbish!
Kant never moved from Konigsberg
Proust spent all his time in a cork lined room.in Paris.
Dr Johnson was notorious for not travelling much.
There are endless counter examples (Shakespeare, Newton, Brontes,
Dickens...)
The only commonality between creative people is creativity.
Since we don't know exactly what creativity is your last statement
rather begs the question of interest.

Why do you think giving a list of stay at home creative people
disproves that the claim that travel may foster (enhance?) creativity?
Had the above travelled more perhaps they would have started younger
or been even more creative.

Lance

Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...