Bilingualism and Creativity
ByAnatoliy V. Kharkhurin
Pages 31

This chapter provides an overview of empirical research on the relationship between bilingualism and creativity. It focuses on the creative performance of bilingual and monolingual children and adults. After reviewing the empirical findings, the chapter discusses their methodological issues and provides their theoretical interpretation. One of the major methodological glitches contaminating not only bilingual creativity research, but also bilingualism research at large, arises from a procedure that assigns participants to bilingual and monolingual groups. Most research investigating a relationship between bilingualism and creativity uses a cross-sectional design, which can be subsequently divided in between- and within-group designs. The impact of bilingualism on creativity is mediated by the effects of bicultural experience. The relationship between bilingualism and creativity becomes the spurious consequence of the confounding variables. There is evidence that bilingualism results in more elaborate cognitive structures and/or functioning. Lambert suggested that bilingualism often entails repeated switching from one language to another and constant dealing with several code systems.