Areas of Interest

The Learning Research Institute supports and conducts research in a variety of areas. Some of the main areas include:

Creativity. The majority of research conducted by LRI personnel focuses on creativity. Led by Institute Director James C. Kaufman, an internationally recognized expert in creativity, the LRI conducts research on defining and measuring creativity, contextual influences on creativity and the creative process, the role of creativity in assessing student performance, creativity across domains, and many other areas. In addition to the experimental work, Dr. Kaufman has also developed the Amusement Park Theory of Creativity (with John Baer), which has been applied to creativity in a number of contexts including education and work organizations.

Non-cognitive Predictors of Student Success. The LRI also studies factors related to student performance and retention. While recognizing the importance of cognitive ability, our emphasis has been to address a breadth of less commonly studied non-cognitive individual characteristics including motivation orientation, learning goals, meta-cognition,  personality, and creativity. We are also interested in exploring contextual influences of non-traditional students including the demands of work, family responsibilities, social and economic support, transportation, and SES. As part of these efforts, the LRI is in the fourth year of a longitudinal examination of many of these factors for their impact on student performance, retention, time to degree completion, and academic path (e.g., choice of major).

Ethnicity and Gender in Learning and Education. Research questions related to gender and ethnicity are germane to many domains of interest to the LRI, and have been the focus of several institute sponsored studies. Some areas of focus include gender differences in mathematics, ethnicity differences in creativity and creative assessment, mitigating stereotype threat in education contexts, and the impact of ethnic stereotypes on ratings of performance and creativity. The rich diversity present on the CSUSB campus and in the local community serves as an ideal environment for our continued efforts in these areas.