U Bath PHD Studentship: Cultivating Open-Mindedness for Dialogue (England)

“Studentships“PhD Studentship in Psychology: Cultivating Open-Mindedness as a Method for Fostering Dialogue and Intellectual Curiosity, University of Bath, England. Deadline: 1 December 2019.

The University of Bath (Department of Psychology) is pleased to offer a PhD project starting in October 2020, supervised by Dr Gosia Goclowska and Professor Gregory Maio. This project is in competition for funding from the ESRC South-West Doctoral Training Partnership and our internal URSA funding scheme.

Open-mindedness is a desirable personality trait and one of the most appealing social values. Open-minded individuals are thought to be among the most tolerant, curious and creative people. For instance, open-minded personality traits have been associated with positive attitudes towards ethnic minorities, greater creativity, and being more receptive to ideas and norms from other cultures. However, despite a tremendous amount of knowledge about open-minded personality traits, scientific knowledge on how to foster greater open-mindedness is still lacking.

This project will look at various methods of increasing open-minded behaviour. Central to the project is the idea that open-mindedness is a dynamic and malleable state and that everyone can be open-minded (Gocłowska, Ritter, Elliot, & Baas, 2019). As an abstract social value open-mindedness can be understood (instantiated; Maio, Hahn, Frost, & Cheung, 2009) in many ways, for instance as non-defensiveness in the face of disagreements, intellectual curiosity, or the courage to take bold and risky decisions. Embracing these various instantiations of open-mindedness can, in turn, lead to a range of positive societal outcomes.

Drawing on personality research (Gocłowska et al., 2019) and on the psychology of social values (Maio, 2017), the aim of this PhD project will be to develop new methods of increasing open-minded behaviour. The developed methods will draw on the different ways in which people instantiate open-mindedness (e.g., as non-defensiveness, risk taking, curiosity).