The Imagination Institute is dedicated to making progress on the measurement, growth, and improvement of imagination across all sectors of society. The Institute is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania.
Currently, there is little consensus on how to objectively measure imagination. To achieve its mission, the Imagination Institute is holding a grants competition and a series of events to lay the foundation for the long-term development of an “Imagination Quotient” and how to build imagination.
On Monday, July 13, 2015, the Imagination Institute announced the results of its competition: "Advancing the Science of Imagination: Toward an “Imagination Quotient” to test, validate and develop measurement tools and interventions for imagination and perspective.
The Institute also plans to host a series of events during which researchers will interact with notable imaginative and creative individuals in various domains (e.g., academic, cultural, and organizational). The purpose of these events is to further refine our understanding of the nature of imagination and to inform the future of research in the field.
The Imagination Institute, based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, has announced the recipients of nearly $3 million worth of grants to researchers at 16 institutions. These grants are aimed at the development of better ways of assessing and promoting imagination and creativity.
Marie Forgeard is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a Predoctoral Psychology Intern at McLean Hospital / Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the determinants and consequences of creative behavior. She is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms through which creativity may enhance well-being, and in investigating the effect of motivational styles on the creative process. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies in Psychology, Marie obtained a Master’s degree in Media and Culture Studies from the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris, France. Marie’s research has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and she received the 2013 Frank X. Barron Award from the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts (Division 10 of the American Psychological Association).
Richard Powers is the author of eleven novels that explore connections among disparate disciplines such as photography, artificial intelligence, music composition, molecular biology, game theory, virtual reality, business, and neuroscience. His books have received various prizes, including the Rosenthal and Vursell Awards, both from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the James Fenimore Cooper Prize, Society of American Historians; the Corrington Award; a PEN/Hemingway Special Citation; the W. H. Smith Literary Award (U.K.); the Dos Passos Prize; the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union, and TIME Magazine’s Book of the Year. He is a MacArthur fellow, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and winner of the 2006 National Book Award.
Martin E.P. Seligman is the Zellerbach Family professor of psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, ethno-political conflict, and optimism. He is a best-selling author of several books including, most recently, Flourish. He received the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award for basic science and Cattell Award for the application of science, and two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association. In 1996, Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His current mission is the attempt to transform social science to work on the best things in life—virtue, positive emotion, good relationships, and positive institutions—and not just on healing pathology.
Jeanette Elstein is a Project Manager in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coordinates two related projects intended to investigate and expand the exciting new field of Prospective Psychology (i.e. how we think about the future, and what it all means). Jeanette also coordinates research on creativity, and its relationship to motivation, achievement, and well-being, as well as a grant dedicated to research the ways positive psychology can be used to predict and improve health-related outcomes. Additionally, she assists with research on posttraumatic growth at the Positive Psychology Center, and is collaborating with the Social Action Lab at the University of Pennsylvania to investigate how language use and implementation intentions are used in self-help books. Jeanette received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, and hopes to eventually use her broad research experience in positive psychology in a public health setting. Jeanette is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Imagination Institute, and hopes her diverse background can be useful in moving this incredibly exciting project forward! You can reach Jeanette at email@example.com.
Retired General (Dr.) Robert Scales is one of America’s best known and most respected authorities on land warfare. Immediately after retirement from the Army he was appointed President and CEO of Walden University located in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Scales served over thirty years in the Army, retiring as a Major General. He commanded two units in Vietnam, winning the Silver Star for action during the battles around Dong Ap Bia (Hamburger Hill) during the summer of 1969. Subsequently, he served in command and staff positions in the United States, Germany, and Korea and ended his military career as Commandant of the United States Army War College. In 1995 he created the Army After Next program which was the Army’s first attempt to build a strategic game and operational concept for future land warfare. He has written and lectured on warfare to academic, government, military, and business groups in the United States, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. He is the author of two books on military history: Certain Victory, the official account of the Army in the Gulf War and Firepower in Limited War, a history of the evolution of firepower doctrine since the end of the Korean War. In addition he is an authority on contemporary and future warfare. Concepts and ideas contained in his writings and studies have significant influenced the course of contemporary modernization and reform within the military. He has written two books on the theory of warfare: Future Warfare, a strategic anthology on America’s wars to come and Yellow Smoke: the Future of Land Warfare for America’s Military. He was the only serving officer to have written books subsequently selected for inclusion in the official reading lists of three services; Certain Victory for the Army, Firepower for the Marine Corps and Yellow Smoke for the Navy. Congressman Ike Skelton has included Yellow Smoke in his National Security Book List sponsored by National Defense University. His latest work, The Iraq War: a Military History, written with Williamson Murray has been reviewed very favorably by the New York Times, Atlantic and Foreign Affairs. He is a frequent consultant with the senior leadership of every service in the Department of Defense as well as Congress and many allied militaries. He has testified seven times before the Senate and House Armed Services as well as the Foreign Relations and Environmental Committees of the Senate. He was honored to be the twentieth Nimitz Memorial Lecturer in 2004. In 2010 he was appointed as a member of the Congressional Quadrennial Defense Review. He is senior military analyst for The BBC, National Public Radio and Fox News Network. He has appeared as a commentator on The History Channel., The Discovery Channel, PBS, TLC and Star Television. His commentary is carried frequently on all major television outlets in the Peoples Republic of China. He has written for and been frequently quoted in The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Roll Call and virtually every service defense periodical and media network on issues relating to military history, future warfare and defense policy. He is a graduate of West Point and earned his PhD in history from Duke University. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean Keith Simonton (PhD 1975 Harvard University) is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. His bibliography lists more than 470 publications, including more than a dozen books. Among the latter are Genius, Creativity, and Leadership; Scientific Genius; Greatness; Genius and Creativity; Origins of Genius; Great Psychologists and Their Times; Creativity in Science; Genius 101; Great Flicks; the Social Science of Cinema; and the Handbook of Genius. Simonton received the William James Book Award, Sir Francis Galton Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Study of Creativity, the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts, the Theoretical Innovation Prize in Personality and Social Psychology, the George A. Miller Outstanding Article Award, the E. Paul Torrance and President’s Awards from the National Association for Gifted Children, the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology Award, three Mensa Awards for Excellence in Research, and the Joseph B. Gittler Award for “the most scholarly contribution to the philosophical foundation of psychological knowledge.” He is Fellow of several professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, and eleven divisions of the American Psychological Association (APA). He has served as President of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts (APA, Division 10), and the Society for General Psychology (APA, Division 1).
Jane Reznik obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has contributed to research on children’s understanding of science and children’s imaginative reasoning as the Lab Coordinator of the Cognition & Development Lab. Jane enjoys exploring the connection between the use of imagination to plan for the future and reason about the world and early scientific thinking and learning.
Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute and a researcher in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the nature, measurement and development of imagination. Kaufman has authored/edited 6 books, including Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice, and The Philosophy of Creativity (with Elliot Samuel Paul). Kaufman is also co-founder of The Creativity Post, and he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American Mind. Kaufman completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale University in 2009 and received his masters degree in experimental psychology from Cambridge University in 2005, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.
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