2.4 Assessing Tonal Birth Language Perception and Production in International Adoptees

Jennifer Hitchcock, Shin Sujin Shin, PhD & Barbara Conboy, PhD University of Redlands

Bilingualism is associated with a number of executive functioning advantages, including those linked to divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a largely associative form of thinking that has been generally understood according to the domain of flexibility, which is the ability to simultaneously allocate energy to the contemplation of multiple ideas. Divergent thinking involves a broad cognitive search for information, and the generation of various alternative, original solutions to a given problem or situation (Guilford, 1967; Kharkhurin, 2010, 2011). As high flexibility scores have been demonstrated to be indicative of high creative ability (e.g., Tovli, 2014; Hommel et al., 2011), divergent thinking assessments— such as the Alternate Uses Task (AUT; Guilford, 1967) and the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT; Torrance, 1966)— have commonly been used as creativity measures. However, research on divergent thinking has largely focused on children (e.g., Tovli, 2014; Abrams, 2013; Ricciardelli, 1992; Peña, 2019), and has studied the mediating factors between bilingualism and creativity through the oversimplified comparison of bilinguals to monolinguals (e.g., Hommel et al., 2011; Kharkhurin, 2010; Tovli, 2014; Simonton, 2008). Furthermore, bilingualism research on creativity has displayed a general lack of consideration for sociolinguistic and individual differences in the bilingual experience, which may affect the relationship between creativity and bilingualism (Surrain & Luk, 2019). This review offers an in-depth overview of creativity and bilingualism research, specifically addressing design-related and conceptual discrepancies. It highlights the dynamic nature of the bilingual experience and stresses the variability in the understanding and measurement of creativity across domains. It discusses the potentially mediating factors between bilingualism and creativity, while pointing to the importance of an individualized approach to bilingualism and creativity research. Not only is the inclusion of sociolinguistic and sociocultural factors in bilingualism and creativity research critical, but the inclusion of underrepresented groups and individuals with unique linguistic profiles— such as heritage bilinguals— is needed (Ortega, 2020). This literature review culminates in a study proposal which aims to assess individual differences in creativity in Spanish-English heritage bilingual adults. Heritage bilinguals are individuals who have proficiency in more than one language and speak a heritage language— or a minority language learned in the home environment, often during childhood (Deusen-Scholl, 2003). This research offers an important contribution to the limited scientific literature focusing on heritage bilinguals and aims to generate a better understanding of how different bilingual experiences can lead to different cognitive abilities, whether those abilities are language-based or not. Through this study, as well as other proposed avenues of future research, highly nuanced social and cognitive aspects of bilingualism can be uncovered.