Dr Paul Silvia author of How to Write a Lot visits CCTA

Paul Silvia Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro visited CCTA and IADT this week. His research concerns emotional aspects of art and aesthetics, particularly the emotion of interest, as well as the psychology of creativity. His most recent book is How to Write A Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (2007, American Psychological Association). Paul received the 2006 Berlyne Award from APA (American Psychological Association) for his research on aesthetics.

On Monday 8 September Paul gave a public lecture on INTEREST and AESTHETICS. The talk presented recent research on aesthetic emotions. Traditional approaches to aesthetics have emphasized subtle, positive feelings, but everyday aesthetic experience is likely to involve complex states such as interest, confusion, anger, pride, and disgust. Some research on cognitive appraisals and aesthetic feelings were described. Paul argued that philosophical approaches to aesthetics have much to learn from basic science (e.g., emotion research) and from sophisticated practitioners (e.g., artists, product designers, interior architects).

On Tuesday 9 September Paul gave a seminar on WHY IS ACADEMIC WRITING SO HARD? In this seminar, Paul considered why we find academic writing to be hard, painful, and frustrating, and inefficient. Using research from several areas of psychology, particularly creativity and expertise, he looked at the tactics that experts use to be consistently productive in the face of teaching, committees, and the everyday chaos of academic life. The seminar was attended by IADT Staff, Research Postgrads including Gradcam www.gradcam.ie and guests from WIT, UCD, TCD and QUB.

This visit is supported by the Director and the IADT Innovation Seed Fund and organised by Dr John Greaney.

Story submitted by:

Dr Marion Palmer

10 September 2008