Can Theory Change What it is a Theory About?

In Beyond Freedom and Dignity B.F. Skinner writes, “no theory changes what it is a theory about; man remains what he has always been.” By this Skinner means that the underlying rules or processes that guide human behavior are constant, and that knowledge of these processes does not change their nature. However, throughout the social psychological literature we see suggestions of just the opposite—knowledge of a psychological process can change the psychological process. For example, Schmader (2010) provides evidence that simply teaching people about stereotype threat may “inoculate them against its effects.” The theory of social identity threat postulates that people are sensitive to contexts that threaten their identity, and when such a situation is detected people engage in ruminative conflict that can distract them enough to undermine their performance in that setting. Schmader is claiming that giving people knowledge of psychological processes predicted by theory changes the processes that unfold. This point raises several important questions: what is a psychological theory? Does psychological theory describe stable processes in the Skinnerian sense? Can we think of psychological theory in the same way that we think about theories of say physics or biology? If we believe theory must have some element of stability (e.g., if we believe light traveled at the same speed in the middle ages as it does today), and that theories exist out side of and are independent from our knowledge of their existence (e.g. the theory of special and general relativity existed before Einstein identified them, and his discovery did not change their quality), then can we classify social psychological theories as theories? My sense is no. Or maybe we need to modify our definition of what qualifies as a theory. Or perhaps our definition of stability in the processes that underlie phenomena and our belief that observation is independent from underlying processes needs modification.

References

Schmader, T. (2010). Stereotype Threat Deconstructed. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 14–18. doi:10.1177/0963721409359292

 

 

Temporal Self-Regulation Theory: Why we keep trying (and failing) to go for that early morning run.

keep-the-dream-alive Last night in a burst of optimism I set my alarm for 5:30 AM. I thought I would sneak in an early morning run around the neighborhood before work. But as bells rang at that un-godly hour, I cracked an eye to a dark, cold room and groped for the snooze button. Ten minutes later, with a slight increase in clarity, I delayed once more “today, sleep is more important”…snooze again. As you might have guessed, I didn’t wake up in time to run.

We’ve all had a similar experience. Our preconceived intentions to engage in healthy behavior too often fail to come to fruition when it’s time to act. But we also intuit that our intentions are somehow linked to our behavior.

Most of the prevailing theoretical models of health behavior such as the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen & Madden, 1986, request pdf), posit that intentions in combination with a number of other factors, such as behavioral beliefs, can predict likelihood of behavior. And these theories do predict behavior reasonably well (see Godin and Kok, 1996), but they fail to explain why large increases in intention only lead to small changes in behavior (see review by Webb and Sheeran, 2006). In this way these theories fail to fully explain health behavior.

Hall and Fong (2007), developed Temporal Self-Regulation Theory to help explain why, when it comes to health-related actions, the intention–behavior link may break down. They postulate that perhaps our intentions sometimes fail to lead to behavior because,

[many health behaviors are] associated with a characteristic set of contingencies whose valence changes dramatically depending on the temporal frame.

I’ve added emphasis to the quote to help break it down. In generally when psychologists talk about behavioral “contingencies” they are referring to if-then conditions that create potential for the occurrence of certain behavior and its consequences. Using the running example above, one behavioral contingency could be stated, “if I run in the morning, then I might be healthier when I’m older”. The “valence” of this contingency is positive—who doesn’t want to live a long and healthful life? “Temporal frame” refers to the very human capacity to think not only in the present moment or short-term, but also to weigh long-term consequences of our actions. Our example contingency has a long-term orientation. The authors contend that valence of the contingency changes with temporal frame, so let’s say I am thinking in the short-term, the behavioral contingency could then be stated, “if I run in the morning, then I might be tired for the rest of the day”. This is, of course, negative in valence. So the theory predicts that I will be more likely to create an intention to run in the morning if I’m focussed on the long-term as opposed to the short-term. This helps explain why it’s so hard to engage in health protective behaviors (such as running) and dis-engage in health risk behaviors (such as smoking). It is hard to delay gratification and most health risk behaviors are satisfying in the short-term and unsatisfying in the long-term, while most protective behaviors are predominately unsatisfying in the short-term and satisfying in the longer-term .

So, back to why my intention to run in the morning failed to lead to running after the alarm went off.

Last night when I set my alarm for 5:30 AM I was thinking about my long-term health, “I’ll look and feel so good in my summer swimsuit after working out” or “I’ll be less prone to disease when I’m older”.  Further the immediate costs of setting the alarm were low—I only had to click few buttons. In contrast, while reaching for the snooze, the costs of running were more immediate and the short-term consequence were salient, “I’m tired now, and I’ll be too sleepy to be productive today if I run”.

These tables and figures from Hall and Fong (2007) demonstrates how protective and risky health behavior have the opposite contingency valence with respect to time orientation. As depicted in the table 1, participants in this study estimated the point in time at which they would notice the benefit/cost of health protective behaviors (e.g. exercise and dieting), and health risk behaviors (e.g. smoking and drinking).

temporal proximity measure Hall and Fong (2007) Sticking with our morning run example, Figure 1 below demonstrates that people don’t notice the cost of running when thinking about rising at the crack of dawn for a run (question #1) or when deciding to run by setting the alarm an hour early (question #2). We start to feel the cost when the alarm goes off and we have to get out of bed and dress (questions #3). The perceived cost continues to grow as we run and after we’ve successfully run once (questions #4 and #5). We start to feel the cost less once we’ve made this morning run a regular routine for a week (question #6). As we continue to engage in our morning run routine the perceived cost continues to decrease, completely disappearing after a several years (question #9).

Now, what about the benefit of running early in the morning? Figure 1 indicates that we don’t feel the benefit of our run until we’ve done it regularly for a week (question #6), at which point the benefits grow exponentially for a year (question #8) and then decreases toward zero as we approach a decade (question #10).

These results provide evidence that the perceived benefit of running occurs well after the initial behavior occurs, while the perceived cost is felt just before, during  and a short while after the behavior initiates.

So when we are making the decision to set the alarm early for tomorrow’s run costs are low and abstract, so we are focusing on the long-term. When the alarm goes off and we are engaging in the behavior the costs are high and concrete, so we are focusing on the short-term. 

Before looking at Figure 1 below, notice that numbers 0 through 9 on the x-axis correspond to questions 1 through 10 in Table 1 pictured above. This is because academics like to make things more complicated than they need to be :). Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.00.55 AM Figure 2 shows that the same trend holds for another health protective behavior (dieting). Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.01.08 AMAs expected, the authors found the opposition result for health risk behavior—costs come after engaging in behavior and benefits occur before/during, see Figures 3 and 4 below. Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.01.19 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.01.31 AM

So how does Temporal Self-Regulation Theory help me running in the morning? It suggests that on thing that might help is to try to minimize the short-term costs and maximize the short-term benefit. This can be hard, but may be as simple as rewarding yourself with a favorite breakfast if you complete the morning run.

Obviously, perceived temporal proximity with regard to behavior is only part of the picture. The authors introduce a working model (below) to illustrate Temporal Self-Regulation Theory more fully, which I’ve enhanced with definitions of each component. The model introduces two factors, behavioral prepotency and self-regulatory capacity that (1) influence (or moderate) the link between intentions and behavior; and (2) directly influence behavior in the absence of intentions. Health behaviors are complex and theories require continuous testing and refinement but Temporal Self-Regulation Theory adds an interesting new component to existing theories that is surely worth further consideration and testing.

Enhanced schematic representation of Temporal Self-Regulation Theory

References

Ajzen, I., & Madden, T. J. (1986). Prediction of goal-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 453-474.

Godin, G., & Kok, G. (1996). The theory of planned behavior: A review of its applications to health-related behaviors. American Journal of Health Promotion, 11, 87-98.

Hall, P. a., & Fong, G. T. (2007). Temporal self-regulation theory: A model for individual health behavior. Health Psychology Review, 1(1), 6–52. doi:10.1080/17437190701492437

Webb, T. L., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 249-268. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.2.249

 

Links That Tickled Me

  1. Nate Silver’s revamped FiveThirtyEight blog made it’s debut this week. His post, What the Fox Knows, explaining the impetus behind their mission and the value of “data journalism” is worth a read.
  2. @econtalker had a heated, but interesting conversation with Jeffery Sachs on the Millennium Villages project. Jeff responds to episode with Nina Munk on her book critical of the project’s impact, The Idealist: Jeffery Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty. Healthy skepticism of foreign aid is a good thing, but my take from these episodes is that the Millennium Villages project has measured, positive impact. This said it is clear that further evaluation from impartial party is required.
  3. I’m drudging through a couple thick and juicy papers on self-regulation:
  • Hall, P. a., & Fong, G. T. (2007). Temporal self-regulation theory: A model for individual health behavior. Health Psychology Review, 1(1), 6–52. doi:10.1080/17437190701492437
  • Mann, T., de Ridder, D., & Fujita, K. (2013). Self-regulation of health behavior: social psychological approaches to goal setting and goal striving. Health Psychology : Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 32(5), 487–98. doi:10.1037/a0028533

What I’m looking for in a graduate advisor. And why it’s good for science.

Applying to doctoral graduate programs is an arduous, time-consuming, and often ambiguous process. Testing, essay writing, and networking aside, it’s hard to identify the right program/person to spend the next 5-7 years with. I spent countless hours reading up on promising schools. And once I selected the faculty members conducting research that peaked my interest and matched my background, I needed to find out if they were even considering students. University websites are often out of date, and some faculty are unclear with their future plans and expectations. So I, and many other bright-eyed students, send thoughtful emails and cross our fingers on a reply:

“Dear Dr. So-And-So, I LOVE your work on [blank], and it is related to research I have done on [blank] in Dr. [Blank’s] lab. Are you taking students next year?”

A little more transparency would not only save everyone a lot of time and anxiety, it could determine the future of a science. Professors must receive dozens of these emails every Fall. And I imagine many students ask about out-dated research agendas based on the out-dated websites. It’s understandable that professors often fail to post updates on their activities and respond to these emails. Their time is being pulled in many directions, and expectations are growing. But, as Ben A. Barres (2013) argues, strong student-advisor relationships are integral to the continued success and innovation of a scientific field. Too often students never receive a clear answer and so spend a lot of time and money applying to programs completely in the dark. Prospective students pray their faculty member of choice is actually considering students for the next year, still working on topics listed online, and not going on sabbatical or reducing the size of their lab.

A breathe of fresh air. I came across several professors and programs that posted clear information on what they expected out of doctoral applicants. Here is the best example-A short blog post saving prospective students the time and money of applying to a non-match, and professors/administrators the time sifting through emails and applications not directed toward their current and future research agenda. The post made it immediately apparent whether or not this faculty member was a good match for me.

So in the interest of transparency, time-saving, and sustained success of the field, here’s what I am looking for in a graduate advisor. 

Note: I used Barres (2013) as a guide and focus on my field of interest, psychology.

Are they a good scientist?

  1. How many publications do they have? How many are recent? How many are in my area of interest?
  2. What is the impact of their publications on the field (h-index)?
  3. Are they publishing research (not just reviews) in top journals (i.e. are they innovators in their field?)
  4. Has their lab or center recently secured major grant funding, such as NIH, NSF, NIMH, etc.

Are they a good mentor?

  1. Get in touch with your prospective mentor’s current students and ask them questions about their mentor. Make sure you are in a space where they can answer honestly.
  2. Do they spend time with students discussing science? Good mentors spend time with their students designing good experiments, interpreting/analyzing data, writing research papers and grants, reviewing papers for journals, and practicing talks for conferences.
  3. Do they encourage students to engage in activities (that may be outside of their research interests) that are good for the student’s training? Activities such as TAing, attending conferences, and taking summer courses or workshops.
  4. Is there room to develop your own ideas or are you a slave to faculty research?
  5. Are they aloof, a micro-manager or somewhere in between?
  6. Is there a team spirit in the lab/center, where people collaborate effectively and are not pit against each other in a fight for attention, resources or scholarly success?
  7. Are lab meetings group discussions in which everyone contributes their thoughts and ideas, or is it primarily a time where the faculty member lectures or dictates to presenters what they should do next?
  8. What is the Postdoc to PhD student ratio in the lab/center? A high ratio might be an indication that your prospective mentor doesn’t see mentorship as a priority.
  9. How big is the lab/center? If it is relatively large it might indicate that your prospective mentor doesn’t have the time to give you individual attention.
  10. How many joint-publications and first-authors do their current students have?
  11. Ask for their CV if it is not available online.
  12. Ask for a list of the faculty’s former students. Find out what these students are doing today. Are they still in research? How successful are they? Are their achievements something you aspire toward?

Are their research interests similar to mine?

A point about this final question worth noting before diving in. I will quote Barres (2013) directly because he just puts it so well:

“An advisor should not be selected solely because he or she is the one researcher at your university that happens to work on the precise focused topic that you think you are most interested in. […] In my experience, this is exactly what nearly every graduate student does! Keep in mind that if you like solving puzzles, as all scientists do, there will be many different puzzles that you will find equally rewarding to work on. […] Begin your search for an advisor by casting as broad of a net as possible.”

Ok, now I’ll throw my broad net:

  1. Do they conduct experiments or studies that explore the etiology of health behavior, disease, or illness?
  2. Are they interested in development or evaluation of real-world health interventions or programs?
  3. Do they use or have an interest in developing research or interventions that use mobile or internet-based technologies?
  4. Do they employ diverse methodologies? Do they collaborate across the disciplines of psychology, public health, sociology, or economics?
  5. Are they interested in one or more of the following topics?: Health Behavior Change, Theory-Driven Psychology Interventions, Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, Emotion Regulation, Health Message Framing, Obesity, Exercise, Nutrition, Built Environment, Decision-Making, Mindfulness, Adverse Events or Trauma, Stress, Psychophysiology, Methodology, Technology for Health Research, Vulnerable or High-Need Populations.

I hope this post provides some useful suggestions for students applying to graduate programs. Please feel free to add ideas in the comments. I also hope this post underlines the importance of transparency and openness in science. With the advent of internet-based technologies, a move toward clarity, free-flow of information, and open communication will help science continue to flourish in the 21st century. And it might ease the migraine-inducing match-making process for students and faculty alike.

References:

Barres, B.A. (2013). How to pick a graduate advisor. Neuron, 80 (2), 275-279. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.005

Is “Emerging Adulthood” a new developmental stage?

Jeffery Arnett (2000) proposed a new development stage, “emerging adulthood” to better describe individuals aged 18+ who are not yet independent and don’t think of themselves as adults. Arnett proposed this term in place of “early adulthood” which is traditionally used to describe people 18-25 years old. Arnett argues that early adulthood is often an inappropriate classification because it implies that these individuals have achieve adulthood despite showing dramatically different characteristics (e.g. not ready for children, live with parents, etc.).

The primary argument against emerging adulthood as a stage of development claims that it is not universal. In defense of Arnett’s theory, Nelson et al. (2004) attempt to show that emerging adulthood may be present in other cultures, but conceptualized in different way. They examined emerging adulthood as a cultural construct by exploring Chinese student conceptualization of adulthood. The authors attempt to compare these conceptualizations to a mainstream United States student population in an attempt to show that emerging adulthood is a construct influenced by culture.

The major weakness of Nelson et al. (2004) lies in the method implemented. The authors compared US to Chinese students of the same age, however failed to gather evidence that the younger and older Chinese populations differ. It would have been more fruitful to compare discrepancies between two age groups within each cultural group. For example, the article suggests that some items suggest that Chinese students share attributes of U.S. emerging adults, the question “How certain are you about your religious/spiritual beliefs?” revealed that only 6.3% of students were certain in their belief system. The authors suggest that this may be an indication that Chinese students of this age are still exploring in a similar way to U.S. students. This claim is unwarranted, as a direct comparison between Chinese students and the older population (to examine the uniqueness of this phenomenon within the culture) was not conducted.

Future research should compare more within-culture differences to determine the presences of emerging adulthood in other cultures. Arnett makes the argument for emerging adulthood in the United States by performing  within-culture comparisons across ages and examining how they have changed over time. It is reasonable to believe that similar changes are occurring in other cultures; however, the indicators may be distinct as they are culturally sensitive. Cross-cultural methodology is challenging; the study of developmental constructs will require creative experimental design to establish meaningful and/or causal relationships.

Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469

Nelson, J.L, Badger, S., & Wu, B. (2004). The influence of culture in emerging adulthood: Perspectives of Chinese college students. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 26-3.

How Does Adoption Affect the Health of Same-Sex Couples?

With increasing acceptance of same-sex marriages in the public sphere I thought I would give treatment to some psychological research in the area. There is often rhetoric on the adoption rights of same-sex couples and how these adoptions affect the health of the child. However, little air time is given to how adoption affects the health of same-sex couples. After all adoption is a complex and often stressful process for any couple. Throughout development, homosexual individuals go through many of the same transitions as heterosexuals. However, in some cases, these transitions may be more stressful due to issues such as heteronormativity, stigmatization, institutionalized heterosexism and social prejudice (Goldberg & Smith, 2011). Given these factors the transition into parenthood, while representing a time of heightened stress among heterosexual couples, may uniquely influence the well-being of homosexual couples. In this more formal blog entry I analyze factors affecting depression and anxiety of homosexual couples as they transition into adoptive parenthood.

The number of homosexual couples choosing adoption is increasing (Goldberg & Smith, 2011), but there is little research on how the transition to adoptive parenthood affects homosexual couples. Further, adopted children are at greater risk for emotional and behavior problems, many of which are associated with relationship quality and psychological well-being of the parents (Goldber, Smith, & Kashy, 2010). A better understanding of factor influencing mental health during this transition will inform effective therapies and support for this population that will result in relevant and important outcomes (Killian, 2010).

Social support, self-concept and depression/anxiety

Goldberg & Smith (2011) was the only study found that directly examined how social support influences changes in anxiety and depression after adoption for same-sex couples. The study measured state legal climate and relationship quality as well as support from the neighborhood, workplace, family and friends. State legal climate was classified as either positive or negative using the Human Rights Campaign’s “Family Equality Index”. All other measures were self-reported questionnaires that gathered the participants’ perception of support (e.g. “I rely on family for social support”). The authors also measured “internalized homophobia” which examined whether the individual thinks positively (or negatively) about their sexual orientation (what this paper refers to as self-concept).

The results indicated that social support (as measured by state laws for adoption) moderated the relationship between individuals’ self-concept (internalized homophobia) and changes in depression/anxiety through the adoption period. Participants high in internalized homophobia before adopting showed an increase in depression and anxiety after adopting in a negative legal context but a decrease in depression and anxiety when the adoption was conducted in a positive legal context.

The authors also found a number of main effects social support has on depression and anxiety over the adoption period. Lower perceived gay-friendliness in the neighborhood and higher internalized homophobia were related to higher depression (but not anxiety). Perceived support from friends was related to lower anxiety (but not depression). Higher levels of perceived workplace support, family support and relationship quality were associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.

Similarly, Ross, Epstein, Anderson, & Eady  (2009) found that social support (at various levels) plays an important role in psychological outcomes after adoption. They conducted structured interviews with seventy-four individuals who legally adopted a child into a same-sex relationship under new laws in Ontario, Canada. After transcription and coding three major themes were identified: supportive experiences, unsupportive experiences, and identity-base experiences. Results indicated that participants living in small neighborhoods (where they were well known and well supported) had positive feelings with regard to the adoption experience. However, if the small community was unsupportive, participants characterized the experience as more difficult. Further, findings recognize the interaction between external social support, self-concept and psychological well-being. In other words, the most positive experiences around adopting were expressed by couples working with agencies that identified their sexual identity as a potential strength in parenting an adopted child. Agencies that legitimize same-sex parenting through recognition of the strengths inherent in it may have bolstered the prospective parents’ self-concept (the belief in their ability to parent as a sexual-minority). This change in confidence may, in turn, have influenced positive changes in anxiety and depression surrounding adoption (though these conclusions are beyond the scope of the authors’ analysis).

Another relevant study by Goldberg, Smith, & Kashy (2010) had similar findings. In their analysis of relationship quality before and after adoption the authors examined similarities and differences between gay male, lesbian and heterosexual couples. The results suggest that, on average, all parents, regardless of sexual orientation and type of relationship, experience a decline in the quality of relationship. However, higher adoption agency satisfaction is related to lower relationship conflict post adoption (particular among same-sex couples). The study also found that higher depression before adoption led to larger increases in relationship conflict among all couples, however it is likely that this relationship is bidirectional (relationship conflict leads to higher depression as well). These findings highlight the influence positive social support (as provided by agencies) has on many psychological outcomes that include (and are related) depression and anxiety.

Discussion

Overall, the current research suggests that social support influences the development of depression and anxiety as same-sex parents transition into adoptive parenthood. However, the mechanism behind this relationship remains unclear. While the influence of social support may show the strongest impact on depression/anxiety when acting through the individuals’ self-concept, it is important to note that self-concept may in fact be derived from various areas of social support. Most studies, however, measure social support solely through the participants’ perception of support. In order to understand the relationship between social support and self-concept more objective measures of social support should be utilized. Also of note, social support moderated self-concept and depression/anxiety when it was related to institutional processes involved in adoption (i.e. state laws or adoption agencies). Perhaps some areas of social support (e.g. family support) contribute more directly to certain psychological outcomes while other, more peripheral, areas of social support (e.g. societal laws) are buffered through self-concept. More research is needed to ascertain the process by which social support influences depression and anxiety in this context.

This area of research is relatively young, but holds promise for developing strategies to assist same-sex couples through the adoption process. Encouraging organizations and agencies to help same-sex couples develop positive self-concept in the context of adoption may improve psychological well-being throughout the process. This may be particularly important among homosexual males who appear to be more prone to self-doubt, due to their sexual orientation, in their ability to parent (Downing, Richardson, Kinkler, & Goldberg, 2009; Ross et al., 2009). Promulgating knowledge within LGBTQ communities about the strengths in adoptive parenting as a sexual minority may also reduce negative psychological outcomes after adoption while encourage more couples to adopt (Ross et al, 2009). Future work should consider the process by which social support, self-concept and depression/anxiety are related in an effort inform intervention strategies.

References

Downing, J., Richardson, H., Kinkler, L., Goldberg, A. (2009). Making the decision: Factors influencing gay men’s choice of an adoption path. Adoption Quarterly, 12, 247-271.

Goldberg, A.E., Smith, J.Z. (2011). Stigma, social context, and mental health: Lesbian and gay couples across the transition to adoptive parenthood. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58,139-150.

Goldberg, A.E., Smith, J.Z., & Kashy, D.A. (2010). Preadoptive factors predicting lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples’ relationship quality across the transition to adoptive parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 221-232.

Killian, M. L. (2010). The political is personal: Relationship recognition policies in the United States and their impact on services for LGBT people. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 22, 9-21.

Ross, L.E., Epstein, R., Anderson, S., & Eady, A. (2009). Policy, practice, and personal narratives: Experiences of LGBYQ people with adoption in Ontario, Canada. Adoption Quarterly, 12, 272-293. 

Are we there yet?

If you have ever been in the car with a child for more than 45 minutes you know too well that kids are prone to boredom. I was no exception. Every summer my family would pack the van up to our necks in camping gear, food, luggage and items to entertain me and my brother, Andrew. My father was ready to go a good 2 hours before everyone else, so the rest of us would rush through the usual morning routine to the sound of dad turned coxswain. Eventually we’d pile into the van and the brothers would tune into some game or puzzle. Eventually we’d reach that point, with 5 hours of road behind us and at least six more ahead, when Andrew and I would without fail squirm with restless boredom. And without fail my mother would harp on the virtues of interest and curiosity. Not the kind of transitory curiosity, that peaks in jubilation say after solving that Zelda puzzle on our gameboys, but rather the slow simmer of resilient interest in things, in anything. As we continue to whine in the back seat, “are we there yet?” My mother would again say, “try to embrace interest, and find curiosity in things, just for its own sake. Remember, the fun is in the going not the arriving.” Try as I might, my nine year old self couldn’t seem to grasp the concept. But, over time, I’d come to recognize its power. And, in 2010 decided to write a paper on the matter. Now, I’ll share it with you.

References (with links)

  1. Bar-Anan, Y., Wilson, T.D. & Gilbert, D.T. (2009). The Feeling of uncertainty intensifies affective reactions. Emotion, 9 123-127.
  2. Berlyne, D.E. (1960). Conflict, arousal, and curiosity. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Duckworth, A.L. & Seligman M.E.P. (2005). Self-discipline out does IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescence. Psychological Science, 16, 939-944.
  4. Dweck, C.S. (2007, December). The Secret to raising smart kids.  Scientific American Mind, 69-75
  5. Hebb, D.O. (1955). Drives and the C.N.S. (conceptual nervous system). Psychological Review, 62, 243-254.
  6. Heslin, P.A., Latham, G.P. & VandeWalle, D. (2005). The Effect of implicit person theory on performance appraisals. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 842-856.
  7. Kammrath, L.K. & Dweck, C. (2006). Voicing conflict: Preferred conflict strategies among incremental and entity theorist. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 1497-1508.
  8. Kashdan, T.B., Gallagher, M.W., Silvia, P.J., Winterstein, B.P., Breen, W.E., Terhar, D., Steger, M.F. (2009). The Curiosity and exploration inventory-II: Development, factor structure, and psychometrics. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 987-998.
  9. Kashdan, T.B. & Roberts J.E. (2004). Trait and state curiosity in the genesis of intimacy: Differentiation from related constructs. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 792-816.
  10. Kashdan, T.B., Rose, P., & Fincham, F.D. (2004). Curiosity and exploration: Facilitated positive subjective experiences and personal growth opportunities. Journal of Personality Assessment, 82, 291-305.
  11. Kashdan, T.B. & Silvia, P.J. (2009). Curiosity and interest: The Benefits of thriving on novelty and challenge. In Nathan, P.E., Snyder, C.D., & Lopez, S.J. (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. 367-374). New York: Oxford University Press.
  12. Kashdan, T.B. & Steger, M.F. (2007). Curiosity and pathways to well-being an meaning in life: Traits, states and everyday behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 31, 159-173.
  13. Kruger, J. & Evans, M. (2009). The paradox of Alypius and the pursuit of unwanted information. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1173-1179.
  14. Loewenstein, G. (1994). The Psychology of curiosity: a Review and reinterpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 75-98.
  15. Litman, J.A. (2005). Curiosity and the pleasures of learning: Wanting and linking new information. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 793-814.
  16. Litman, J.A, & Silvia, P.J. (2006). The latent structure of trait curiosity: Evidence for interest and deprivation curiosity dimensions. Journal of Personality Assessment, 86, 75-86.
  17. Mueller, C.M. & Dweck, C.S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 33-52.
  18. Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2004). Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 603-619.
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