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The interplay of bilingualism, executive functions and creativity in problem solving among male university students

    Mark Leikin   Affiliation
    ; Esther Tovli   Affiliation
    ; Anna Woldo Affiliation

Abstract

The present study explores the interplay among bilingualism, executive functions and creativity in problem solving among adult male university students. In this context, the associations between two factors critical for understanding the topic, i.e. type of bilingualism (i.e. balanced versus non-balanced bilingualism) and type of creative thinking (i.e. convergent versus divergent thinking) are examined, as well. 28 Russian/Hebrew/English trilinguals (balanced Russian/Hebrew bilinguals), and 25 non-balanced Hebrew/English bilinguals participated in the study. All participants performed several standard tasks on executive functions (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Eriksen flanker task, digit span test, Corsi block-tapping test) and two tests on creativity: Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Figural Form A) and Remote Associates Test (in appropriate languages). The findings showed that the Russian-speaking participants performed better on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, particularly in flexibility and fluency measures. On the Remote Associates Test, balanced bilinguals outperformed non-balanced bilinguals in the English version and exhibited the same results in the Hebrew version of the test. In this case, there were significant correlations between the Remote Associates Test results in all three languages in the Russian group. Thus, balanced bilingualism seems to be also characterized by a well-organized language system in which all of the individual’s languages are interconnected. This appears to be a significant factor in the performance of balanced bilinguals on the Remote Associates Test in the different languages. In addition, the findings seem to confirm the hypothesis that balanced bilingualism positively influences divergent thinking. The hypothesis that performance of bilinguals on creativity tasks is linked to distinctions in the development of their executive functions was not confirmed.


Santrauka


Šiame tyrime nagrinėjama sąveika tarp dvikalbystės, vykdomųjų funkcijų ir kūrybiškumo sprendžiant universiteto vyriškosios lyties studentų problemas. Šiame kontekste taip pat analizuojami du veiksniai, svarbūs siekiant suprasti šią temą, t. y. dvikalbystės rūšį (vienodai gerai įvaldyta versus nevienodai gerai įvaldyta dvikalbystė) ir kūrybinio mąstymo tipą (konvergentinis versus divergentinis mąstymas). Tyrime dalyvavo 28 asmenys, kalbantys trimis kalbomis – rusų, hebrajų ir anglų (asmenys, vienodai gerai kalbantys dviem kalbomis, t. y. rusų ir hebrajų) bei 25 asmenys, nevienodai gerai kalbantys hebrajų ir anglų kalbomis. Visi dalyviai atliko keletą standartinių užduočių, skirtų vykdomosioms funkcijoms (Viskonsino kortelių atrankos testas, Erikseno šoninių rodyklių užduotis, skaičių eilės pakartojimo testas, Corsio blokelių jungimo testas) bei du kūrybiškumo testus – Torrance’o kūrybinio mąstymo testą (paveikslas A) ir tolimų asociacijų testą (skirtą atitinkamoms kalboms). Rezultatai atskleidė, kad rusakalbiams dalyviams geriau sekėsi atlikti Torrence’o kūrybinio mąstymo testą, ypač lankstumo ir sklandumo atžvilgiais. Naudojant tolimų asociacijų testą vienodai gerai dviem kalbomis kalbantys asmenys sulaukė didesnės sėkmės nei nevienodai gerai dviem kalbomis kalbantys asmenys, atlikę anglišką testo versiją ir pademonstravę tokius pat rezultatus, spręsdami hebrajišką testo versiją. Šiuo atveju esama reikšmingų koreliacijų tarp tolimų asociacijų testo rezultatų visų trijų kalbų atžvilgiu rusakalbių grupėje. Vadinasi, atrodo, kad vienodai gerai įvaldytą dvikalbystę taip pat charakterizuoja tinkamai organizuota kalbų sistema, kurioje visos kalbos, kuriomis kalba asmuo, yra tarpusavyje susijusios. Regis, tai reikšmingas veiksnys vienodai gerai dviem kalbomis kalbantiems asmenims, atlikusiems tolimų asociacijų testą skirtingomis kalbomis. Be to, atrodo, kad rezultatai patvirtina hipotezę, jog vienodai gerai įvaldyta dvikalbystė daro teigiamą įtaką divergentiniam mąstymui. Nebuvo patvirtinta hipotezė, esą dviem kalbomis kalbančių asmenų, atliekančių kūrybines užduotis, sėkmė ar nesėkmė yra susijusi su skirtumais, plėtojant jų vykdomąsias funkcijas.


Reikšminiai žodžiai: dvikalbystė, pažinimas, konvergentinis mąstymas, kūrybiškumas, divergentinis mąstymas, vykdomosios funkcijos.

Keyword : bilingualism, cognition, convergent thinking, creativity, divergent thinking, executive functions

How to Cite
Leikin, M., Tovli, E., & Woldo, A. (2020). The interplay of bilingualism, executive functions and creativity in problem solving among male university students. Creativity Studies, 13(2), 308-324. https://doi.org/10.3846/cs.2020.10397
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May 4, 2020
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