Research In Progress

This is a brief summary of some of the ongoing projects I’m currently working on:

(1) An examination of individual differences in the experience and expression of I- and D-type epistemic curiosity across cultures – these studies are investigating relationships between EC, affect, cognition, and self-regulation of  self-directed learning. Additionally, this line of research will lead to the development of reliable and valid translations of the I/D EC scales. Research is currently underway with colleagues in Japan, Argentina, Italy, Belgium, China and India.

(2) The development of I- and D-type EC over the lifespan – I am working with colleagues in Netherlands and Germany on projects aimed at examining the development of EC in young children and adolescents. The first article reporting findings from this line of research may be found here.

(3) Research on gathering intelligence and causal reasoning about complex problems related to human behavior —  this is an exciting line of research on which I am collaborating with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Some additional details on my work at IHMC can be found here.. We are also exploring a more advanced form of epistemic curiosity, unique to high-level expert reasoners. Related ongoing work is also exploring the relationships between epistemic curiosity and different forms of self-regulation, as detailed here..

(4) Relationships between metacognition, memory, and the activation of I- and D-type epistemic curiosity states –  this is a (long overdue…) continuation of my work on the relationship between various metacognitive judgments (e.g., tip-of-the tongue), individual differences in I- and D-type EC and the activation of state curiosity. This line of research will also investigate the role of I- and D-type EC in solving insight problems.

(5) Curiosity and neuropsychological function – this work is still very much in the early stages, but should be moving forward more briskly shortly — look for new updates soon!

For now, see recent work by Han, et al, 2013 and also research by Kang, et al, 2009 by Jepma, 2012, and by Gruber et al, 2014.

What’s very exciting is that the aforementioned studies are finding evidence in support of several key aspects of the “integrative I/D-Wanting/Liking” theoretical model, introduced in Litman, 2005 (see also Litman, 2010 ).

(6) I- and D-type curiosity, affective experience and facial expression –  this line of research is aimed at clarifying the different emotional experiences that appear to distinguish I-type from D-type curiosity.

Additionally, I am piloting work that examines facial feedback effects – can we experimentally enhance feeling curious by manipulating the associated expressive markers? – this is something that (to the best of my knowledge) has never before been considered.

A related line of (currently “back-burnered”) work will examine facial expressions associated with especially complex expressions of curiosity that involve approach-avoidance conflicts, such as morbid curiosity.

Presently, I am undertaking new research on identifying facial expressions of I- and D-type EC during infancy. There is evidence of distinct “knit brow” and “relaxed interested” faces that are both associated with engagement and learning in infants within the first few months of life. More on this as the project develops…

(7) Other areas of work I’ve done dovetail with my strong secondary interest in stress, health, and coping, as well as individual differences in tendencies to want (or passively avoid) information concerning potential threats to one’s health and well-being.

(8) Building on the item above, I’ve recently begun new and exciting collaborative work with colleagues in the UK on Intrapersonal Curiosity (InC; a nice compliment to my previous and ongoing work on interpersonal curiosity), which is concerned with inquisitiveness about the self, including the questioning of one’s identity and purpose in life, trying to better understand one’s own feelings and motives, and reflecting on the meaning and consequences of one’s past experiences.

Preliminary data suggest that this remarkably understudied aspect of curiosity is relevant to coping with stress, psychological-well being, and self-awareness. The first two articles on the nature and measurement of InC may be found here and here..

Please Contact Me if you would like more information regarding any of these projects, or if you are interested in collaborating with me on a project.

Similarly, if you are working on a project for which expertise in curiosity, multivariate statistics, and/or psychometric measurement are key, I also offer services as a research consultant.