Talk to Investigate Bicultural Identity

Dr. Carmel Saad

Dr. Carmel Saad

Carmel Saad, assistant professor of psychology, will present research that shows exposure to multiple cultures may increase creativity on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. in Hieronymus Lounge at Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall. The Phi Kappa Phi Paul C. Wilt Faculty Lecture, “Not All Biculturals are the Same: Cognitive and Emotional Correlates of Bicultural Identity Integration in a Multicultural Society,” is free and open to the public.

Saad, an Egyptian-American whose research focuses on bicultural identities, studies dual cultural identities and creativity. Saad’s parents are both Egyptians who immigrated to the United States about 30 years ago. “I was raised in a traditional Egyptian family and had to reconcile it with my American identity,” she says. “That’s where my research comes from — it’s a natural extension of my personal experiences.”

In her latest research, she used an experimental design that assessed self reports, reaction times and creativity tasks to assess the cognitive and emotional correlates of bicultural identity integration.

“There is quite a bit of research showing that multicultural exposure increases creativity,” she says, “but our work takes it one step further by showing that not all of those who have multicultural experiences are more creative — only those that can move fluidly between their two, different cultures. Not all biculturals experience life in the same way — some navigate their two different cultures easily, while others do not.”

Saad, who joined the Westmont faculty last fall, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and earned a Master of Arts degree and a doctorate from UC Davis. She has taught at Napa Valley College, UC Davis and the University of the Pacific.