Bilingualism and Creative Abilities in Early Childhood

Mark Leikin, Esther Tovli, Sergey Malykh


The present study was motivated by a scarcity of knowledge about the impact of early bilingualism on the development of general creativity and mathematical creativity.  Two groups of bilingual and monolingual preschoolers (mean age = 60.9 months, SD= 3.1) from the same monolingual kindergarten participated in this study: 15 Russian/Hebrew balanced bilinguals and 15 native Hebrew-speaking monolinguals. All children were administered the Figural Form A (Thinking Creatively with Pictures) from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, the Pictorial Multiple Solution Task assessing general creativity, and the Creating Equal Number task measuring mathematical creativity. Bilingual children showed higher creative ability than their monolingual peers. It seems, however, that bilingualism affects various domains of creative ability differently. Consistent with findings of an earlier study (M. Leikin, 2013) the results demonstrate that relationships between creativity components and bilingualism are task dependent, and when differences between bilingual and monolingual children are revealed, they are in favor of bilinguals. In other words, advantages in creative ability in bilinguals are specific rather than general.

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)


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