My name is MarLa and I am a senior at George Mason. I am majoring in Psychology and English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. Through my OSCAR project, I examine the relationships between different elements of personality and both creative ability and creative activity. More specifically, the personality is often divided into five qualities, called the Big Five, which an individual might either be high or low on. Because creativity is a much desired and highly marketable skill, much research has been done on different aspects of it, but to research to date only consistently correlates it with one of the five qualities. However, it may be that creativity have a nonlinear relationship with other characteristics within the Big Five, that have previously been overlooked due to a tendency of researchers to look strictly for linear correlations.
My OSCAR project was developed as a means of engaging with my passion for both of my majors. My interests in art (literary and visual) and psychology developed almost simultaneously, when I was very young. It is perhaps because of this that I came to think of creative production as a key component of the human experience, and developed the desire to understand it more completely.
I have been working on this project for what will be a year and a half at the end of this semester, and it has gone through immense changes. The data I will be analyzing will come from a larger study on psychological flexibility, led by my mentor, Dr. Todd Kashdan. My week consists of lab meetings, refinement of the surveys and interviews we will give our participants, and a great deal of reading, writing, and rewriting. In the coming weeks, we will begin running participants, at which point my duties will involve scheduling participants according to research assistant availability.
This term I have learned a lot about the process of conducting and then presenting research. Specifically, I have gained a substantial amount of experience writing abstracts and considering the genre differences between posters and papers. I could not have learned any of those things with the theory alone; this program has given me the chance to learn by doing, for which I am very grateful.