Assistant Project Scientist
Claire Zedelius obtained her Bachelor degree in Psychology (2006) and a Research Master in Behavioral Science (2008) from Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). She obtained a PhD in Social Psychology from Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 2013 for her work on the role of consciousness in human reward pursuit. After completing her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UCSB (until 2017), conducting research on the relationship between mind wandering and creativity. She is currently continuing her research as an assistant project scientist.
Her research investigates how conscious and unconscious processes as well as spontaneous and deliberate thought interact to produce goal-directed and creative behavior. She is particularly interested in understanding how mind wandering can inspire or facilitate creative problem solving, idea generation, and other aspects of creative behavior. Creative ideas and solutions sometimes come to mind in a sudden flash of insight. But this moment is often preceded by a period of deliberate thinking that can last for hours, days, weeks, or even years. Mind wandering can facilitate the creative process during all this time. To understand how mind wandering affects creative thinking, she teases apart various types of mind wandering differing in style and thought content (e.g., spontaneous versus deliberate mind wandering, mind wandering that occurs with or without conscious awareness, mind wandering that revolves around pleasant or unpleasant thoughts, strange or interesting fantasies, or personally meaningful topics). She uses research methods such as experience sampling to capture these types of mind wandering in the moment during laboratory tasks or in real-life settings. She is also interested in how mind wandering interacts with motivational states. She is currently working on a multi-lab research project on curiosity. Curiosity can be understood as a motivational state in which one is motivated to obtain information as a reward. Her research focuses on how curiosity can lead to creativity, and what role mind wandering may play in translating a state of curiosity into creative ideas and solutions. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop interventions to increase curiosity and creativity.