‘Creativity, Scientific Thinking and Tolerance of Ambiguity in Luxembourgish and Immigrant Schoolchildren.’


CALL: 2011

DOMAIN: ID - Humanities and Social Sciences

FIRST NAME: Henderika (Herie) Bernice




HOST INSTITUTION: University of Paris

KEYWORDS: Primary school, science learning, comparison, creativity, cultural values

START: 2012-01-15

END: 2018-10-31


Submitted Abstract

This study explores the relationship between culture and scientific creative cognition. Studies were conducted with primary students in Luxembourg, France, India, Thailand, and Russia. A pre-study revealed a cultural factor: for Asian immigrant students, the relation between the personality trait “openness” and creativity was reversed. The second study showed that the convergent process is particularly important for scientific creativity, and that divergence and convergence processes are distinct. A cultural factor was, that the greater the number of family members of a child born outside France, the less they integrated concepts when converging. Their divergent originality of ideas was also significantly lower. The impeded creativity of immigrant background students could not be explained by number of languages, or socio-economic differences. A third study revealed a categorization of children’s ideas: a focus on observable or ‘surface’, unobservable ‘core’, or ‘process’ aspects. This was related to levels of TA, but not to general intelligence. Again, a cultural factor emerged. The more students themselves and their family members were born abroad, the more the students proposed “surface answers”, a less creative response, and unrelated to number of languages spoken. The fourth study demonstrated significant differences of TA level in India, France, and Thailand. In India, children gave for example significantly more “surface” ideas than in France or Thailand, where children gave more ‘core’ ideas. This reveals that the cultural, socially learned attitude of TA, between 9 and 11 years old, is related to differences in creative scientific potential. A fifth study with Russian students showed that the categorization was distinct from performance in science. Overall, the study established a link between scientific creaitve cognition and culture. A student’s own culture impacts creative potential, and immigrant student’s creative potential appears impeded. Results lead to more understanding, to foster scientific creativity for children of all cultures.

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