Role of cognitive flexibility in bilingualism and creativity
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The present study examined the role of cognitive flexibility as a mediator of the relationship between bilingualism and creativity. Other variables, such as cultural orientation (i.e., individualism vs. collectivism), multicultural experience, and second language acquisition age, were also included to comprehensively understand their associations with creativity. Cognitive flexibility received particular attention due to its mediating roles as a facilitator of the effects of bilingualism, cultural orientation, and multicultural experience on creativity. The mediation effect of cognitive flexibility was analyzed using a bootstrap method on a sample of 89 Korean-English bilingual college students (55 females and 34 males) in South Korea through an online survey. Findings suggest that bilingualism was not statistically associated with creativity but that cognitive flexibility had a mediation effect in the relationship between bilingualism and creativity (i.e., fluency, originality, and flexibility), indicating that the degree of bilingualism was significantly associated with creativity through cognitive flexibility. Also, cognitive flexibility played an important role in describing the relationship between multicultural experience and creativity (i.e., fluency and flexibility, but not originality). Bilingualism was the most predictive variable for cognitive flexibility. The role of bilingual ability on the development of creativity was discussed. Findings of this study provide teachers and educators with useful insights for encouraging bilingual abilities and multicultural experiences to nurture creative potential of students.