Psychological Research

In retirement I have picked up again some of the basic psychological research, particularly the work on human curiosity, which I began fifty years ago. This work has been developed into a generalisation of the theoretical model of curiosity to a general theory of cognitive motivation.

See Cogntive motivation: From curiosity to identity, purpose and meaning for a list of chapters and the first few pages of the book that is to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2017

Theory and Measurement of Human Curiosity PhD thesis by David Beswick 1964, without appendicies

Curiosity TAT Scoring Manual

See extract on Happiness

The earlier paper, An Introduction to the Study of Curiosity gives a brief account of the cognitive process theory of how curiosity functions in creating, maintaining and resolving conceptual conflicts, and how as a trait it arises from the interaction of openness to novelty with orderliness. For some early work on this project see Management Implications of the Interaction between Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation and From Curiosity to Identity, and a related paper Identity: A Psychological Perspective. The last two of these are preliminary to the application of basic concepts of intrinsic motivation to higher level cognitive functions.

Generalisation of the cognitive process theory of curiosity at the micro level of motivation in a specific situation to provide a general model at the maro level of purposive integration and growth of the whole person in a social context is being advanced beyond that indicated in those papers. Some other basic concepts have been introduced particularly in regard to the application of the general theory to aspects of agency, identity, purpose and meaning. A book with the tentative title "Cognitive Motivation" is being completed - see the link above.

Applications to education, management, science, the arts and worship are indicated for future study in my current project. Some of the more relevant of my earlier publications are listed with the introductory paper.

The cognitive process theory of curiosity was developed in my Harvard PhD thesis and tested further in some later work in Australia. It was never possible to make it the main focus of my research, but useful findings came from a few relevant studies and there have been some recent citations of those publications.

With Michael Hills I developed and used in a large scale survey The Australian Ethnocentrism Scale. This and other work on attitudes, including Attitudes to Taking Human Life, have also had some attention in later years and the original publications of the scales are reproduced in some collected works.

Most of my psychological work in later years was applied in educational research, mainly higher education, particularly students attitudes and motives, transition from secondary to higher education, career development, especially of women, student financial assistance and national policy questions on the structure of higher education. See Higher Education Research and Personal and Professional Background.

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Last Updated 27 December 2014 by David Beswick