A Motivational Approach to the Enhancement of Imagination & Human Flourishing
We are investigating the motivational and imaginative processes that underlie inspiration, action, and flourishing-related outcomes. Our project focuses on (a) instrument development and validation, (b) model and theory development, and (c) real-world intervention with student participants in The Future Project.
Todd Thrash is a personality-social psychologist with a focus on human motivation. He earned a B.A. in chemistry at Denison University in 1995 and a Ph.D. in personality-social psychology at the University of Rochester in 2003. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. His research interests include fundamental human motivations (e.g., implicit and explicit motives; approach and avoidance temperaments and goals), as well as elusive and understudied processes through which individuals discover and actualize existentially profound possibilities for engagement with their world (e.g., implicit-explicit congruence, inspiration, self-transcendent emotion, imagination/creativity, emotional chills, and well-being). Dr. Thrash is presently an Associate Editor of Journal of Personality, a past editor of Social and Personality Psychology Compass, and a past co-editor of a special issue of Motivation and Emotion. Prior to receiving a grant from the Imagination Institute, he was the Principal Investigator on a large grant from the National Science Foundation and one of the Key Personnel (head statistician) on a large NIH grant.
Joseph Weissgold is an interdisciplinary designer with a focus on middle- and high-school education. For the past four years he has taught digital fabrication and physical computing at day-camps and after-school programs for teens, and professional development workshops for teachers. He has worked with the Institute of Play, The Makerbot Foundation, and several NYC museums including The American Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Museum, and the Guggenheim. Over that period he also earned his master’s degree at the School of Visual Arts where he focused on the intersection of Design and Education, developing his own lesson design framework for leveraging creative tools through project- and game-based-learning. Joseph now works as a researcher at The Future Project, an education non-profit that works in public high-schools in seven cities across America, coaching students to realize their purpose and passions and manifest them as Future Projects. He works closely with the diverse group of educators from across The Future Project to frame their work as experiments, ultimately serving to inform the model as the organization continues to grow. He also is overseeing several large-scale research projects, including the design of the in-house documentation software, a school-culture survey, and a series of maker-spaces.