Brian R. Little

Brian R. Little
University of Cambridge | Cam · Department of Psychology

Ph.D. (California, Berkeley)

About

67
Publications
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4,311
Citations

Publications

Publications (67)
Chapter
Full-text available
In personality science, the choice of units of analysis is a key factor for understanding the dynamic transactions of people in context. One of the earliest analytic units adopted for such purposes is that of personal projects—extended sets of personally salient action in context that are pivotal for understanding how individuals can partially shap...
Article
Personal projects are core integrative units of analysis for personality science. Personal projects analysis (PPA) is a multi‐modular, flexible and contextually‐sensitive assessment methodology that measures the content, appraisal, dynamics, and impact of personal projects pursued by diverse individuals, groups, and eco‐settings. Human flourishing...
Article
Personal projects are core integrative units of analysis for personality science. Personal projects analysis (PPA) is a multi‐modular, flexible and contextually‐sensitive assessment methodology that measures the content, appraisal, dynamics, and impact of personal projects pursued by diverse individuals, groups, and eco‐settings. Human flourishing...
Chapter
A major theoretical and empirical advancement of recent work in personality science concerns the variability of personality traits and the impact on people’s lives. In this current climate, research has focused on how acting out of character can shape important life outcomes for dispositional introverts. For example, research in personality science...
Article
This overview of the psychology of personality dynamics locates contemporary trends within the field's long history. Investigators of the 19th and 20th centuries are recognized as having identified scientific challenges that must be addressed today if one is to attain a comprehensive understanding of personality architecture and dynamics. We outlin...
Chapter
Has research by psychologists truly advanced our understanding of human flourishing and the quality of lives? Some philosophers (e.g. Nussbaum, J Leg Stud 37(52):S81–S113, 2008)) are sceptical and believe that the models and methods of psychology obscure or ignore those features of lives constitutive of flourishing. I engage this debate by calling...
Article
Personal projects are extended sets of personally salient action in context. They range from the incidental tasks of typical Thursdays to the overarching commitments of a lifetime. Little (1983) provided a rationale and methodology for the study of personal projects with emphasis on their consequences for well-being and human flourishing. Personal...
Chapter
Wo sind Sie gerade? In einem Café? Im Garten? Online? Wieder mal auf der endlosen, langweiligen, lärmenden Zugfahrt zum Büro? In einem lauschigen Eckchen zum Schmökern, das nur Ihnen gehört? Bevorzugen Sie eine pulsierende, stimulierende Umgebung oder eine friedliche und ruhige? Ergreift Ihr Partner, Ihre Partnerin vor denjenigen Orten, wo Sie ganz...
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Warum scheinen manche Menschen, egal in welcher Situation, immer dieselben zu bleiben, während andere ihre Selbstdarstellung wie ein Chamäleon variieren und je nach Situation wie ganz verschiedene Personen wirken? Wie ist es mit Ihnen? Verhalten Sie sich auf einer Beerdigung beerdigungskonform? Benehmen Sie sich bei einer Grillparty wirklich grillp...
Chapter
Als meine Tochter ihren 10. Geburtstag feiern wollte, trat sie eine halbe Stunde, bevor die Party losging, mit einer ungewöhnlichen Bitte an mich heran: Könnte ich die Gäste vielleicht hypnotisieren und sie in verschiedene Bauernhoftiere verwandeln? Selbstverständlich lehnte ich dieses Ansinnen aus einem Dutzend ethischer, juristischer und praktisc...
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Denken Sie einmal an die kreativsten Menschen, die Ihnen in Ihrem Leben begegnet sind. Manche davon kennen Sie vielleicht nur indirekt, über das Erleben ihrer kreativen Arbeiten. Sie waren gefesselt von ihren Romanen, süchtig nach ihren Videospielen, haben allein zu ihrer Musik getanzt oder sich von ihrer Darstellungskunst berauschen lassen. Andere...
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Zunächst einmal habe ich Sie davon zu überzeugen versucht, dass auch Sie ein Wissenschaftler sind und sich Ihre Welt mithilfe Ihrer eigenen Arbeitstheorien oder Konstrukte erklären. Diese Konstrukte vermitteln Ihnen bei der Auseinandersetzung mit neuen Situationen, Beziehungen und Selbsterkenntnissen eine stabile Vorstellung von sich selbst. Sie kö...
Article
Personality science pursues the rather paradoxical project of specializing in comprehensiveness. But with rapid increases in the breadth and depth of research in the field, the need for integration poses a clear challenge. The choice of unit of analysis is critical to this challenge. Personal projects, extended sets of personally salient action in...
Article
‘What are you doing?’ and ‘How is it going?’ are foundational questions we can ask of agents. They elicit answers that illuminate aspects of well-doing, or felicitous action, by directing attention to an agent’s personal projects. Personal projects are constitutive elements of daily existence and are consequential for a happy and virtuous life. The...
Article
Full-text available
Much of our behaviour acts in service of pursuing our goals (Carver & Scheier, 1998). However, research into goal pursuit has mostly focused upon the study of single isolated health goals and behaviours. As Gebhardt (this issue) discusses, life is more complex; people pursue multiple goals via numerous behaviours (health related and not), which all...
Article
Proposes the use of personal projects analysis (B. R. Little, 1983) as an integrative framework for areas of applied psychology (e.g., clinical psychology and counseling). It is maintained that the main objectives of therapy are to discern (1) the characteristics, dynamics, and effects of personal projects, which are actions that are significant fo...
Article
This chapter reflects on how positive psychology and personality science have co-evolved and how they may continue to do so. The key substantive question it explores is this: to what extent and in what ways are positive emotions, orientations, and actions critical for human well-being? Drawing on research in personality science, it makes the case t...
Chapter
Current Concerns and Personal Projects: Latent Dynamics and Manifest Destinies of Goal PursuitPersonal Projects as Analytic Units: Assumptions and AssessmentPersonal Projects Assessment: Modules for Elicitation, Appraisal, and Contextual AnalysisAnalyses of PPA Modules: A Counseling Assessment PrimerHuman Flourishing as the Sustainable Pursuit of C...
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Full-text available
I review a social ecological model of human development that stimulates reconsideration of some traditional views in personality and motivational psychology. I propose that the quality of lives is contingent upon the sustainable pursuit of core personal projects. Project pursuit may occasionally require the suspension of biogenic fixed traits and t...
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In this paper, we propose a needed reconceptualization of the study of gender and public administration that is sensitive to emerging issues of public-service renewal. Five central themes are examined and new research directions illustrated. The first theme is the nature of commitment. We argue in favour of the development of new social ecological...
Article
I want to discuss the circumstances that prompted the development of personal projects analysis as a line of inquiry and how these influences shaped this book. What follows, therefore, is a highly selective recounting of the generative contexts that shaped the development of personal projects analysis and consequently this volume. The chapter is in...
Article
In three studies (Ns between 125 and 176), happiness in life was the highest for undergraduates whose personal goals and life-story identities were supported by thematically consistent personality traits. In Study 1, happiness was highest among participants who were pursuing highly social goals that were supported by sociable traits. This relation...
Article
Cervone, Shadel, Smith, and Fiori (2006) make a strong case for enhancing theoretical coherence in the study of self-regulation by examining recent advances in personality science. I extend their line of argument, reframe their philosophical reminders and strategically shift their suggestions. My goal is to provide an augmented base from which pers...
Article
Personality science pursues the paradoxical project of specializing in comprehensiveness, a pursuit that some may see as an inherently impossible undertaking. Accompanied by one such contrarian, a hypothetical “Reviewer C,” I explore six possible “impossibilities” in personality science. Together we examine our epistemological assumptions, conceptu...
Chapter
Our research program on personality and social ecology is based explicitly on a set of assumptive propositions about the nature of persons, the nature of contexts, and the transactional features of persons in context (Little, 1976, 1983, 1989; Little & Ryan, 1979). Our perspective shares many of the assumptions of other transactional or social ecol...
Article
Research on personal goals in relation to subjective well-being (SWB) typically involves appraisals of these goals on a number of appraisal dimensions. In this study, we examined how dimensional specificity affects predictions of SWB. Two studies were conducted. In the first, 19 doctoral candidates were interviewed with respect to their personal pr...
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Full-text available
A comprehensive and useful understanding of human occupation requires research methods that capture its individual dimensions while permitting analyses within and across groups. In this article we describe the construct of personal projects and the research method of personal projects analysis. Both have their origins in studies of personality and...
Article
Full-text available
Personal Projects Analysis (B. R. Little, 1983) was adapted to examine relations between participants' appraisals of their goal characteristics and orthogonal happiness and meaning factors that emerged from factor analyses of diverse well-being measures. In two studies with 146 and 179 university students, goal efficacy was associated with happines...
Article
argues that understanding of the self requires examination of the specific tasks, commitments, projects, and relationships that constitute the daily ecology of individuals / provides an analysis and methodology for assessing personal projects, the extended intentional acts that people undertake (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights res...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the relationships between classical trait units as represented by the five-factor model (e.g., Digman, 1990) and personal action construct (PAC) units as measured by Personal Projects Analysis (Little, 1983). One hundred and forty-seven students were administered the NEO Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1985) and two com...
Article
Reviews the book, Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology edited by Lawrence A. Pervin (see record 1989-97460-000 ). This volume presents the first solid empirical review of what many feel is a genuine challenge to (some would say subsumption of) the cognitive orthodoxies of social psychology and the trait orthodoxies of personality psyc...
Chapter
Personal projects are extended sets of personally relevant action, which can range from the trivial pursuits of a typical Tuesday (e.g., “cleaning up my room”) to the magnificent obsessions of a lifetime (e.g., “liberate my people”). They may be self-initiated or thrust upon us. They may be solitary concerns or shared commitments. They may be isola...
Article
Lifestyle, currently a popular lay term but not an important construct within the social sciences, is examined briefly. Two studies designed to explore a lifestyle typology using personal projects methodology are reported. In the first study, three distinct lifestyle types were identified among a large community sample. They were tentatively labell...
Article
explore the use of the project analytic perspective to examine the daily pursuits of adolescents and to develop a line of argument about self-identity and the nature of alienation in adolescents personal projects and action theory focus on a specific dimension of meaning in PPA [Personal Projects Analysis] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA...
Article
A study was conducted to replicate some of the findings of Andrews and McKennell (1980), who examined affective, cognitive, and other components of global subjective well-being measures among respondents from the United States and Britain. Using data collected from 1068 Canadians, linear structural relations (LISREL) estimates of affective, cogniti...
Article
A new methodology developed by the 2nd author (see record 1983-26972-001) for the systemic appraisal of personal project systems was used as an approach to understanding perceived life satisfaction. Variables derived from the personal projects matrix were shown to explain variability in reported life satisfaction in 2 separate studies with 178 uni...
Article
Full-text available
The personal project is proposed as a new unit of analysis for the study of personality in its social, physical and temporal context. A sequential model of personal projects is proposed in which the major stages of project inception, planning, action, and termination are described in detail and related to dimensions of individual differences. A new...
Article
A new methodology for the systemic appraisal of personal project systems was utilized as an approach to understanding perceived life satisfaction. Variables derived from the Personal Projects Matrix were shown to explain variability in reported life satisfaction in two separate, studies, one with a university sample, the other in a small community....
Article
Presents a general introduction to research carried out under the umbrella of "social indicators of quality of life." From its inception some 15 yrs ago, the area has blossomed to include thousands of studies and a variety of approaches. The article describes the goals of the field and presents a historical overview and delineation of differences b...
Article
Tested the hypothesis that there are cultural differences in the proportion of variance in social behavior due to persons (P) and situations (S). 40 English and 40 Japanese 16–17 yr olds, similar in social class and IQ, were asked to rate the behavior of 5 target persons in each of 4 situations. Analysis showed that on all 4 scales, more of the Eng...
Article
The effects of prior interview experiences on subsequent test responding were examined by comparing the influence of three interviewer behaviors: interviewer self-disclosure, interviewer verbal reinforcement of self-referent statements, and direct instructions to be self-disclosive. Performance was contrasted with a control interview condition char...
Chapter
The integrative and reflexive capabilities of the personality research paradigm are here reviewed in the context of applying specialization theory to issues in man-environment research. A primary specialist typology is described along with the notion of specialization loops. Assessment techniques for measuring the cognitive, affective, and behavior...
Article
Sewell W. R. D. and Little B. R. (1973) Specialists, laymen and the process of environmental appraisal, Reg. Studies 7, 161--171. While "environmental impact statements” have assumed increasing importance in recent years, little is known about factors influencing the process of environmental appraisal which underlies these sta...
Article
Examines assumptions underlying orthodox models for personality research and reveals problems and paradoxes that retard progress in this field. 2 alternative "reflexive" models, G. A. Kelly's "scientist" model and third force psychology's "humanist" model, are critically analyzed. An alternative "specialist" model is proposed; which retains aspects...
Article
This chapter explores recent advances in the social ecological model of human development. Little's research lies at the intersection of personality, social ecology, and developmental science, although in recent years it has expanded into domains rather remote from its psychological origins, ranging from taxonomic analysis to economic philosophy an...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between occupation and subjective well-being (SWB). A convenience sample of 120 adults completed a personal projects analysis, a method of rating their current goal-directed pursuits. They also completed measures of SWB (Affect Balance Scale, Life Satisfaction Index Form A) and personality t...
Article
Examines the "conative evolution" in personality psychology—the shift from seeing motivation solely through the prism of a restrictive cognitive theory toward the study of intentional personal action. The author traces the roots of this change, selectively appraising its empirical yield, and discussing its implications both for personality psycholo...
Article
Sunwiaiy.-No evidence was found for convergent validiry of three measures of cognitive complexity administered to 39 Ss. While males scored higher on a measure of complexity based on structural relations between constructs, females showed a tendency for higher scores on measures involving verbal differentiation. The relation of complexity to affect...

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Projects (3)
Project
Our goal has been to better understand humans as doers and how purposeful activities can be identified and planned to address problems that compromise human well being.