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It's all about brain power

Reem Antoon

Bilingual people show an increased ability to shift attention, switch between tasks and solve problems more easily. This is believed to be due to the efficiency of the executive control functioning of the brain!

In a mixed marriage, for instance, there are high chances of the children growing up bilingual.

And people who had deep connections with someone from another culture experience growth in creativity.

However, this creative boost does not occur when people only have shallow connections with people from other cultures, say experts.

So, intercultural relationships can provide the cultural learning that shapes the content and the processes of creative cognition!

Basically whether romantic, social or professional, intercultural relationships born of deep associations can have a significantly positive cumulative effect on individuals.

Intercultural ties, says Professor Andy Hafenbrack of Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, not only facilitate the flow of new information from intercultural partners, but also signal general open-mindedness to observers from the home culture, who in turn are more likely to share content with the subject.

“Individuals looking to improve their creativity should actively seek opportunities that allow them to step outside their cultural comfort zone,” says the study, by INSEAD and Columbia Business School.

While workplace intercultural connections may run deep or remain shallow, one area where interculturalism develops strong roots is in mixed marriages.

And with more than 200 nationalities in the UAE, multicultural couples are becoming increasingly common as many families reach out to embrace values such as tolerance, understanding and bi-culturalism.

Dr Jamila Motala, clinical psychologist at Light House Arabia in Dubai, describes multicultural families as “a fusion of diversity, represented by different features such as nationality, religion, language, social customs, behaviour and values.”

And studies have found that people who have lived abroad have an increase in creativity but that travelling abroad has very little effect.

So the deeper your connection, the deeper your understanding of the other culture, the more creative you’re going to become!

“It makes sense that marrying a person from another culture may further amplify these effects.

One reason this may be the case is that marriage requires people to make many important decisions together, such as those related to how to raise children, relate to extended family, decide where to live or whether to make a career change, manage money, or write a will,” says the research.

So I guess I made the right choice then!

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