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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Travel grant report

12.01.2016, by Sibylle Classen in grant report

Sindhuja Sankaran
Jagiellonian University Krakow, Poland

The EASP travel grant allowed me to attend the 27th Annual conference of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and the 8th Annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation (SSM) in New York City, USA between 19th May and 25th May 2015. At the conference, I had an opportunity to engage in relevant discussions about cognitive and motivational determinants of multiple goal pursuit. One such factor of interest was that of Need for Cognitive Closure (NFC), which is seen as a motivated tendency on the need to have an answer on a given topic, as opposed to further ambiguity (Webster & Kruglanksi, 1996). A new paradigm was developed to simulate a multiple goal pursuit environment, thus attending the conference; particularly the SSM meeting helped gain better insight and made us modify certain aspects of our initial design.

At the conference, I also had an opportunity to discuss in detail with fellow researchers and experts in the field of epistemic motivation. In particular, we had an informative discussion on the controversial effects of effort investment tendencies seen amongst individuals with high Need for Cognitive Closure (NFC). In general, research has shown that high NFC individuals show a reduction in motivation to search for new information. However, our results showed that in certain (structured environment) conditions, high NFC individuals indeed invest more effort which leads to efficient goal pursuit.

The outcomes of these discussions were then incorporated in a few additional studies that I conducted on my return to Krakow, Poland and that has helped us gain more insight towards these dual effort investment effects which also helped in contributing towards a book chapter that was in the process of being written on these ironic effects of rigid processing seen amongst high NFC individuals. Furthermore, on modifying the design, the new set of results was also later presented at the ESCON conference and finally a paper is currently in progress.

Although, the travel grant money was only used to attend a conference, I personally feel that it in fact did pave opportunities to help expand upcoming new theories and currently this line of research is also being pursued in various other contexts.