Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Laura R. Johnson

Second Advisor

Carrie V. Smith

Third Advisor

Todd A. Smitherman

Abstract

The 2009–2010 academic school year in the United States boasted a record number of enrolled international students. An estimated 690,923 students attended universities and colleges across the country (Open Doors, 2011). World markets and educational systems have become more connected and internationally focused. As a result, academic settings around the globe now encourage students to step beyond what is culturally familiar in order to become creative, knowledgeable, and competitive graduates. An empirical study by Maddux and Galinsky (2009) provides pioneering data that supports the connection of increased creativity through extended multicultural experiences. Individuals who are able to effectively incorporate customs from their home culture with that of the host culture are known as bicultural. The present study used an exploratory approach to provide additional information concerning the relationship between creativity and the variables that contribute to biculturalism (i.e. multilingualism, country of origin's cultural orientation, time lived in the U.S). The link between creativity achievements as a result of proper adjustment (i.e. acculturative stress, GPA, social support, multicultural campus involvement) was also investigated. Information was obtained from 122 international student participants. Sample ages ranged from 17 to 40 and represented 39 countries of origin. Information was collected through the completion of survey packets that contained the Creative Achievement Questionnaire (CAQ; Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2005), the Duncker Candle insight problem (1945, Karl Duncker), the Vancouver Index of Acculturation (VIA; Ryder, Alden, & Paulhus, 2000), the Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students (ASSIS; Sandhu & Asrabadi, 1994), and a modified version of Social Support (Koeske & Koeske, 1989, 1993). Results from the study did not support the majority of initial assumptions. Key predictor variables such as multilingualism and acculturation strategy were not influential on creativity success. More specifically, the acculturation strategy did not account for variances beyond other factors as predicted. Significant findings concerned the length of time lived abroad and insight problem solving. Participants who lived in the United States for longer periods had greater success solving the Duncker Candle insight problem. Results indicated that students from collectivistic cultural backgrounds (loose and tight) had lower self-reports of creativity on the CAQ and were not successful in solving the Duncker Candle insight problem. In terms of gender, female participants were least associated with correct responses to the Duncker Candle insight problem. Indicators of student success were negatively correlated with acculturative stress. Students who generally indicated higher levels of stress were least successful on the Duncker Candle measure of insight creativity. Overall, the study provided support for the relationship between insight problem solving and time lived abroad. The present study paves the way for future research that compares creativity measures and factors of biculturalism.

Concentration/Emphasis

Clinical Psychology

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