Going beyond the multicultural experience-creativity link: The mediating role of emotions

Chi Ying Cheng*, Angela K y Leung, Tsung Yu Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines the mediating role of emotions implicated in the multicultural experience-creativity link. We propose that when individuals are dealing with apparent cultural contradictions upon encountering two cultures simultaneously, mentally juxtaposing dissonant cultural stimuli could lower positive affect or increase negative affect, which could in turn induce a deeper level of cognitive processing of cultural discrepancies and inspire creativity. Two studies compared dual cultural exposure versus single cultural exposure among bicultural Singaporeans (Study 1) and compared self-relevant (jointly presenting local and foreign cultures) versus self-irrelevant (jointly presenting foreign cultures only) dual cultural exposure among monocultural Taiwanese (Study 2). As in past research, dual cultural exposure promotes creativity, particularly if one presented culture is self-relevant. Further, this effect was mediated by a less positive or a more negative emotional state. These findings illuminate the underlying influence of emotions activated by simultaneous exposure to diverse cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-824
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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