Bilingualism, creativity, and social problem-solving

Mary Ann Stephens, Fordham University


The present study investigated the effects of bilingualism on the creativity and social problem-solving skills of 84 Hispanic children from Spanish-speaking homes. The subjects were students from a small city school district in the New York metropolitan area. Only students demonstrating high levels of proficiency (60% or higher on the Language Assessment Battery) were considered to be proficient in the language being assessed. Students who demonstrated proficiency in both Spanish and English were considered "bilingual" for the purposes of the study. Those meeting the criterion in only one language were considered to be "monolingual." The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking was administered as the measure of creativity, and the Preschool Interpersonal Problem Solving Scale was used to measure social problem-solving abilities. The Ravens Progressive Matrices were used to measure general cognitive ability. General cognitive ability was used as a covariate in the statistical analyses. The results indicated that the bilingual children outperformed their monolingual counterparts in the area of social problem solving, but not in the area of creativity. The positive relationship seen between bilingualism and social problem solving further strengthens the research in the area of the positive advantages of bilingualism. Future research is recommended in the areas of bilingualism, creativity, and social problem solving.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Stephens, Mary Ann, "Bilingualism, creativity, and social problem-solving" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9729615.