Are bilinguals better at creative problem solving?


What makes a person able to solve problems creatively? One interesting factor that may contribute is experience with multiple languages from an early age. Bilingual individuals who acquire two languages by the age of 6 have been shown to demonstrate superior performance on a number of thinking tasks that require flexibility. However, bilingual advantages have yet to be identified particularly on insight problems that are used as a model of creative problem solving following initial impasse. As such, the goal of the present study was to investigate the influence of language experience on problem solving performance on a matched set of insight and non-insight problems. Results demonstrate an interaction between type of problem (insight versus non-insight) and language status.

Research highlights

►Bilinguals can show advantages on creative problem solving tasks.  

►Early bilinguals show advantages in many tasks that require cognitive flexibility.

►Advantages of bilingualism were seen on a set of insight and non-insight problems.

►Results suggest an interaction between type of problem and bilingual status.

Source: “Aha! Voila! Eureka! Bilingualism and insightful problem solving” from Learning and Individual Differences

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