The Effects of Foreign Language Learning on Creativity

  •  Behzad Ghonsooly    
  •  Sara Showqi    


The present study investigates the possible influence of foreign language learning on individuals’ divergent thinking abilities. Unlike the large body of research devoted to unfolding the effect of bilingualism on cognitive functions, foreign language learning has gained little attention. This study aimed at bringing into attention the distinctive nature of foreign language learning which deserves a separate line of investigation. To this end, controlling age, gender, socioeconomic status, and previous learning experiences, the performance of advanced learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) and non-EFL learner monolinguals were compared on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. The findings revealed that learning English as a foreign language to an advanced level significantly enhances all four divergent thinking abilities, i.e., fluency, elaboration, originality and flexibility. Such enhancement can be attributed to specific cognitive practices that language learning brings, and the psychological consequences of being trained under a system different from school system.

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