Study discovers direct correlation between creativity and time spent overseas
Those bitten by the travel bug know seeing the world and learning about different cultures is amazing. What you may not know is that it can also increase creativity. According to a new study published in the Academy of Management Journal, researchers from Columbia University analyzed the experiences of three creative directors from 270 high-end fashion houses over 11 years. Study results revealed a direct correlation between creativity and time spent overseas. The longer a director spent on international soil, the more inspired their lines were in the long run.
Why does international travel make people more creative overall? It comes down to cultural immersion. Putting yourself in a new place and truly interacting with the people and the culture forces you to think in different ways and jump between different ideas — a term scientists refer to as cognitive flexibility. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” said lead study author Adam Galinsky.
Galinsky is quick to emphasize how the so-called “immersion effect” only works if you truly immerse yourself in the culture. In other words, if you go to a resort in Punta Cana and don’t talk to a single Dominican person aside from your bartender, your creative juices won’t be stimulated as much as they would if you ventured out into the villages and talked to the locals.
The bottom line?
Book your next international trip ASAP. If your boss hassles you for taking too much time off, show him or her the study and say you are travelling “in the name of work”.