1. How far do you think you can generalise your work?
It’s a theory of thinking that incorporates domain-general and domain-specific thinking. I think my studies show there is scope for generalisation across contexts and ages and sex. Studies 4 and 5 support this as the age range was diverse.

2. What are the theoretical underpinnings of your work?
The theoretical underpinnings are that we use heuristics/shortcuts/schemata (called Cognitive Intentions) to construct our thinking in the moment. However, we are not aware of these habituated Cognitive Intentions (Study 4) and this unawareness leads to a limited choice in our responses in the moment (Study 5). It is only with exposure to the relationship between these Cognitive Intentions that we can begin to choose how we construct our thinking and ourselves in the moment.

3. Explain your thesis in two minutes?
I was familiar with the Identity Compass profile tool as I had been using it at Coventry University London on their High Flyers programme for MBA Students. I had also been researching levels of adult development by Kegan and Laske, which threw up all kinds of ideas about thinking, complexity and cognition in adults. I knew that students were very different in how they think as their IC profiles reflected these differences. So I wanted to know if a student with a specific combination of CI’s matched Kegan’s Stage 2 or 3 or 4 thinking and behavioural profile. I also wanted to know if there was a difference between the emotional and cognitive processing of the student and if the IC could reflect this. That would then align my hypothesis with both Kegan and Laske. So, I decided to research the differences in the combinations of CI’s and to call these distinct combinations: Thinking Styles. As I tentatively found this to be the case, I then decided to investigate if those Thinking Styles were tantamount to differing stages of development as per Kegan and Laske, and the Thinking Quotient was created. I figured that we all know someone who is level 2, and they behave a certain way. We might know someone who is level 4, and they behave a different way. What I noticed was that the research said the lower levels wouldn’t know they had habituated thinking styles, but my experience said different. I wanted to know if it is possible to be level 2 and still self-aware.

4. Why did you narrow your focus of enquiry to this?
I honestly think that cognitive complexity is what is missing from organisational thinking and educational thinking. The problem I saw was that the methods used to determine complex thinking were overly academic and reliant on humans to interpret the findings. These are limitations that could be overcome with a new approach.

5. In what way is your thesis original? 
No one has looked at using Cognitive Intentions and the awareness of our relationship to them as a foundation for complex thinking before. Extrapolating out from this, no one has used IACR to look at existing Trait theory (or OCEAN) in order to discern something more useful than a passing inference of personality. I think the whole concept of personality can be rewritten once the ideas of deliberate thinking are taken into account. Also, it states in the thesis that it doesn’t have to be Cognitive Intentions and Thinking Styles if a researcher or psychologist has a different measure of self-awareness. But the resultant measure is still a measure of their Dynamic Intelligence.

• Adult Metacognition
• Zone of Dynamic Development
• The Development Onion
• Thinking Styles
• Cognitive Intentions linked to schemata
• The Thinking Quotient
• The Development Iceberg
• The DI Awareness Model
• The Four Pillars of Constructed Development
• The Constructed Development Grid
• Exploring Commons’ work on task complexity
• EI is a facet of DI when IACR are considered

6. What are the motivations for your research?
I read a friend’s PhD and thought it was interesting. Then she told me about the process and I thought it wasn’t for me. But then I realised that I needed it to hone my thinking. I thought there must be a common denominator to all the psychology I have read over the years. What is the one thing that unites all the theories? I think that having the Dr title is recognition for one’s hard work, and it resonates with various institutions that what I will be saying as part of my development work isn’t simply my own thoughts and ideas (even though they are), they are backed up by rigorous testing and both Quant and Qual methods of validation. It’s a recognition of the methodology to the title, and this gives credence to my system.

7. How did your research question emerge?
It began by asking about post-graduate student thinking, and by virtue of the findings, it morphed into a larger question on the control group dataset that then needed statistical verification. Once verified as robust and significant, the question again morphed into one of awareness of one’s self-awareness, and finally, testing the research questions in a live interview for qualitative verification. My final question morphed to a CDT perspective from a DI perspective as my picture got bigger. I saw that DI was the process of measuring CDT.

8. Which previous studies and researchers influenced your work?
Otto Laske; Robert Kegan; Suzanne Cook-Greuter; Jane Loevinger; Michael Commons; Michael Baschettes; Michael Moscolo; Piaget; Vygotsky; Shelle Rose Charvet; Michael Hall; Bruner; and more…

9. Who or what was most influential on your thinking?
Otto Laske and Robert Kegan from a complexity perspective. And thus cognitive complexity. Also, Cook-Grueter had some excellent ideas, as did the literature on stage transition, even though I found it to be lacking. It propelled me onwards to solve the issue I saw for growth.

10. What is the area in which you wish to be examined?
Constructed Development Theory. Cognitive Complexity. Levels of Adult Development. Thinking.

11. How did you maintain your objectivity during the research process?
I allowed the data to inform my opinion of the hypothesis. Hence why when it was non-significant in the first two studies, I tested it against a control group of a large dataset that then demonstrated a significant variance. In study 5, I tried to use Grounded Theory but not sure I pulled it off. I think it was simply a thematic analysis. My intentions were pure though. I wanted to remove myself from the output of the interviews so I wouldn’t influence their thinking in the moment. I also think that in order to be a high-level Dynamic Intelligence thinker, one must be able to actively choose objectivity. If I were unable to do this at choice, I would not be living my research question.

12. How did you manage the data you collected?
The data were literally in an Excel spreadsheet and very easily managed. From an Ethics perspective, it was stored securely with access only available to me. From an anonymous perspective, every profile was anonymised and thus secure from any form of alignment to real people. The 4th study was online and the data in the background was secured by the web site’s servers, behind my login. The 5th study was anonymised by ensuring no names were mentioned in the interviews, and the transcriptions were completed by an outside company to ensure no researcher bias. These were stored securely as per the ethics process requirements. The audio files were deleted once the interviews had been transcribed.

13. Why did you select this sample? Were there any limitations to it?
The initial samples were all post-graduate students. This does have its limitations, but not in this context as I was specifically looking at PG student Thinking Styles. Study 3 was over 8,000 profiles and from all over the world. Very generalised and multicultural, which might be a limitation in a specific context.

14. Talk us through how you analysed your data?
In study 2, the DV was close to normally distributed according to the P-Plot and based on skewness and kurtosis absolute values lower than 1.96, as well as based on the analysis of the histogram. However, the overall regression model was nonsignificant, F (5, 168) = 1.07, p = .38. Accordingly, none of the 5 cognitive dimensions predicted the outcome variable TQ. For Study 3 I used an initial exploratory factor analysis to determine how the data were observed and as the data were not normally distributed, I used a principle axis factoring method of FA. I wanted to know which CI’s had the greatest (to least) effect on the TQ score (DV) using Kegan’s scale, so I used a multiple linear regression with 5 dimensions as IV. Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity (Bartlett, 1954) was statistically significant (p < .001). The principal axis factoring method revealed ten factors with eigenvalues greater than λ = 1.00, explaining 59.37% of the variance. The results of the multiple regression analysis were that the overall regression model was highly significant, explaining 20.2% of the variance of the TQ. The five factors explained 47.29% of the variance. Direct oblimin rotation was used, in order to get more accurate results. All five cognitive dimensions predicted the TQ at 1% (Dimension 1, Dimension 2, Dimension 3 and Dimension 4) or 3% level of statistical significance (Dimension 5). I then wanted to know what impact dimension 1 had on the TQ score as opposed to Dimension 3 (or 4 or 5). This was a multiple regression, again. This demonstrated statistically that the values of each CI (its relationship with its poler) impacted the TQ score, thus demonstrating that the TQ is real.

- When Dimension 1 increases for one percentage point, the TQ score increases for .010
- When Dimension 2 increases for 1 point, TQ increases for .007
- When Dimension 3 increases for 1 point, the TQ decreases for .012
- when Dimension 4 increases for 1 level, TQ becomes .003 lower
- if Dimension 5 increases by 1, the TQ increases for only .001, but still significantly

Study 4: paired samples t-test on all thirteen intentions revealed significant differences on subjective and objective measurements for all intentions. The difference between the average TQ scores was significant as well Overall, the scores were higher on subjective than on objective measurement: the mean of the self-report scores for the participants’ TQ was 3.12 and the mean for their IC report was 3.25. This is not high, but it is significant. The difference between a positive score and a negative score is an important differentiator. Study 5: A hermeneutic research perspective was used to understand the whole (TS) as a function of its constituent parts, and obviously the parts (CI’s) as a function of the whole. Hermeneutic phenomenology is focused on the subjective experience of individuals. Five overarching themes and 20 subthemes emerged from the data. These were designed to qualitatively reflect the quantitative data. The results of the semi-structured interviews support the research question: how self-aware are participants of their Thinking Style? in that They mirror the suggestion in the data (study 3) that the participants are not aware of their construction of self, using Cognitive Intentions (or anything else). Where one knew they used an ‘Internal’ heuristic, this was coded as ‘Internal’ and ‘Awareness’ and the opposite. The structure of the interview was led by the questions and the results of the self-report questionnaire. For example, where one interviewee had scored 50% for their self-report score, and 50% for their Identity Compass score, they were asked specifically how they know they utilised that Cognitive Intention precisely. A more deductive approach to coding was necessary to convert the interview responses into a quantifiable form. Hermeneutic-dialectics is the process by which meaning is ascertained and then compared and contrasted in situations at the heart of a constructivist enquiry. The hermeneutic-dialectic methodology aimed to produce as sophisticated a construction as possible for each participant and for all participants.

15. How did you choose your methodology? Were there any constraints?
I used a Mixed-Methods approach as this places value on the theoretical logic. Plus, I knew I wanted to try to validate my thinking with both quantitative and qualitative studies to make the result more robust. And as I was using an online questionnaire, the first four studies are post-positivist because this is the most useful approach to engage an online questionnaire to ‘allow the data to emerge’. Post-Positivism and Constructivism. Measuring the objective reality that occurs and developing numeric measures of observations is paramount for positivists. From a quantitative perspective, this research design is a postpositivist approach as human behaviour is not an absolute, and thus one cannot be positive about our claims of knowledge. Post-positivists approach human behaviour from a deterministic perspective in that an outcome has a cause. This study was therefore Constructivist in that the participants create their own meaning in the way they map the world in which they operate, which is contingent upon human interactions and transmitted in a social context. The social context was academia in studies 1 and 2, and large organisations in study 3. Individuals develop subjective meanings of their experiences. The constructionist approach is aligned with qualitative research. Social constructionists believe that we seek understanding of the world around us, and we develop subjective meaning of our experiences. Social constructionism makes no ontological claims as it confines itself to the social construction of knowledge, thus making only epistemological claims. Hermeneutic phenomenology is focused on the subjective experience of individuals and groups, and interpretation is all we have. Any attempt to describe something is also an interpretative process. The focus of hermeneutic phenomenology is towards illuminating unconscious details within experience that may be habituated or taken for granted by the actor, with the aim of creating meaning and understanding.

16. If you could start again, what would you do differently?
I would ignore the first two studies and interrogate the large data first, then try to profile 100 high level managers and directors of large organisations to get a different perspective from academic profiles. Then the 4th and 5th studies would be similar, but with a different contextual starting point.

17. How did you decide what literature to include in your literature review?
I knew cognitive complexity was key, so that meant adult stage development. This naturally meant (in my eyes) that I start with stage development, which is Piaget and children, in order to build an argument for how stages build and change. I then needed to know what the literature said about actual stage transition, and it was from here that my argument grew deeper. I guessed we were constructing our thinking so needed to look at Kelly and Constructivism. This included identity. This helped my thinking on HOW we go about constructing ourselves. I then needed to understand what intelligence is, and then finally, what the academic literature is on meta-programmes. It’s not a lot…

18. What were the ethical issues in conducting this research?
The main ethical implications were regarding the protection of the student data. However, these were accommodated by the ethical processes laid down by CU. The data were stored securely on CU servers with access only via my login. Interview transcripts and audio files also came under ethical consideration. Each was made anonymous and given a pseudonym in the thesis. The audio files were also deleted once transcribed.

19. What steps have you taken to minimise researcher bias in your work?
The important section of my research was the data. I got an external expert to validate the data interrogation in order to avoid any potential for bias in my statistics. I allowed them to tell me what the data demonstrated, hence why the first two studies were artefactual. I also used a positivism and network analysis approach to allow the patterns to emerge and be tested. However, I was looking for evidence of scales and measures, which required some bias in that I knew from my 3rd study that too much “External” meant something different to too much “Internal” so was aware of this finding through studies 4 and 5, and in the writing of the Discussion. Dynamic Intelligence is, in essence, a biased system based on known criteria.

20. Did you encounter any problems with applying your chosen method of analysis?
I wanted the ideas to emerge from the data, so it was important to pick the right methodology for that to happen. I wanted the interviews to produce themes that were true to the interviewees, not the researcher, so I chose Grounded Theory. Upon reflection though, I have used a Thematic Analysis, not GT.

21. How did your thinking develop as you went through the research process?
I made more connections in places and with ideas that I might not have made had I not gone through the PhD process. As much as I hated the process, because I’m an Options person, I forced myself to think in a style that was essentially alien to me. This came out in my thesis as I was too linear sequential in my literature review, but it was necessary for me to do this to counter my natural Thinking Style. I even have a Development Onion to visualise my process experience. I also ensured I made connections at progressively higher levels of abstraction to test my thinking along the way. I needed to live my theory by doing my theory in my research.

22. How do your findings support the literature in this field?

• The factor analysis supports Piaget’s Disequilibrium and Ashford’s Identicide.
• The FA also supports Piaget’s accommodation and assimilation ideas (dimensions 1&3)
• Thinking Styles support Kegan and Laske’s work on SE and C developmental stages.
• CDT bridges domain-specific and general thinking.
• CDT interventions support Palus&Drath’s perspective on short term intervention validity.
• DI supports Dunn et al’s stretching of students’ perspective for cognitive growth.
• CDT offers a “what” for change regarding stage transition. This is support.

23. How do your findings challenge the literature in this field?
They challenge the idea that in order to grow we must use a version of stages or scales. They challenge the idea of stage transition. They might also challenge the literature on child stage development, but this will need further research. The best part is, it will hopefully challenge the ideas of personality within and without awareness and thus the challenge the foundations of trait theory. By adding IACR to traits, we get a whole new beast.

24. What aspect of your research did you find the most interesting?
Messing with the data. I loved Study 3 as the graph supported my hypothesis. The factor analysis allowed me to map the findings to Piaget’s equilibrium and disequilibrium with factor 1 and factor 3. This was a lightbulb moment. The interviews. Getting the lived experiences of the interviewees and cross validating their level of awareness, their awareness of their self-awareness with my findings (albeit positive and supportive) was very interesting because it also threw up questions for traditional therapy and the process of psychological help for those people.

25. What are the strongest parts of your work?
Study 3 is the strongest part. It shows quantitatively that the Thinking Quotient scale exists, and thus Thinking Styles exist. The factor analysis shows that a tweak in one CI impacts our overall Thinking Style (TQ). Study 5 is also very strong as it validates the data in the lived experiences of the interviewees, and counters some of the literature on stage development by showing that the lower level thinker is capable of self-awareness. The research used qual and quant methods to support the premise. I also think the final argument that we construct everything is strong. I think I have managed to pull together a convincing argument from a variety of sources, both legacy theories and modern approaches. From Kelly to Chater to Karmiloff-Smith and Feldman-Barrett.

26. Where did you go wrong? What did you learn from it?
In study 1, I literally used the wrong line in the SPSS table and it produced the wrong results. Luckily it was only for 32 lines of numbers, but had I not caught this and used the same mistake on 8,200 profiles in study 3, I would not be sitting here now. I learned to get help where I needed help. I used the university’s doctoral experts for all my endeavours, whether it was writing academically or looking at the data. I changed my supervisory team three times. The final team was the best team for my thinking. So I used them to make my thinking and thesis stronger. Study 5’s Grounded Theory turned out to be a normal Thematic Analysis.

27. Please describe your main findings in a few sentences.
We construct everything! Our awareness of how and why we do this is limited. People have different Thinking Styles. These styles amount to different ‘levels’ on the Thinking Quotient scale. This means they have different levels of self-awareness. People aren’t aware of their use of Cognitive Intentions as integral facets of their self-construction. With a little exposure to them, they can develop a greater choice in their thinking and behaving. IACR.

28. What are the weakest parts of your work?
The use of CI’s as the only measure of self-awareness in the moment. Another potential weakness is the need for a scale to denote one’s Thinking Quotient. But everything needs a measurement with meaning.

29. Which part of the process did you enjoy the most? Why?
I enjoyed messing with the data, trying to find what I could find within. The interviews were great too as it meant talking to people and validating my thinking in the moment. 30. How have you evaluated your work? By looking at the data and getting expert opinion from a variety of experts. I’m confident in my thinking, but there’s no harm in getting outside input.

31. How long do you expect your work to remain current?
There is no answer to this. I expect my work to provoke further research and whether my ideas are superseded by more erudite or functional theories is not the point, provided they were originally provoked by my thinking. The idea of stage development and transition becoming obsolete in favour of a more holistic approach to complexity growth is something that could go on and on. The impact into personality theory and child development could also ensure my work remains current across differing contexts.

32. Who is your audience?
Everyone who thinks. Or who thinks they think. Anyone interested in how they think. Academics, universities, organisations, board members, line managers, students…

33. What are the practise implications of your findings?
I have contacted a number of people within various fields to introduce them to the ideas within Constructed Development Theory and highlighted where it could be useful. These fields include a Doctorate programme in Business at Coventry, growing the thinking of the doctoral students; a clinical psychologist in a Northampton hospital to test the theory in a clinical context (Psychodynamic CDT); a book aimed at the layperson that introduces the average Amazon reader to the concepts of DI, CI’s and Thinking Styles. I would also like to see it applied to organisational psychology and aligned with Jaques’ work.

34. How do you intend to share your research findings?
By telling everyone I meet about my theory. Literally. And by publication of studies I already have in the pipeline. And Routledge have accepted a book proposal for general consumption. They want me to publish my main paper and then write one chapter for further review. I have papers in mind for study 3, study 5 and trait-based research. As well as a longitudinal study on profile changes, and finally, a new scale for the TQ to further differentiate it from stage development.

35. How would you like this research to be followed up and taken further?
By using my position within the university to further my research on undergraduate students. By asking my supervisor if I can borrow her fMRI machine to test the physical aspects of brain performance at each stage of the TQ. I would also like other researchers to take whatever they consider to be the facets of self-awareness and to measure them in order to determine someone’s Dynamic Intelligence via a different route to my own. I would also like the idea of Cognitive Intentions as the foundation for self-awareness and construction to be investigated in other contexts. How do Nigerian farmers construct their thinking in context compared to Norwegian lumberjacks? How does a Trump supporter construct his world view using CI’s and is he doing it within awareness? If not, how aware does one have to be in order to vote for someone else? And by virtue of being aware, does this presuppose one’s voting direction? What are the cultural heuristics that specifically contribute to our construction of our culture? I would like to look at how we can choose to ignore these in favour of a more constructivist perspective.

36. What are you most proud of? Why?
The graph that shows Thinking Styles at the various Thinking Quotient levels exists. That is the culmination of my thinking in one graph. Also, the alignment of CI’s to Piaget’s schemata and (dis)equilibrium as it cements them in psychology. This hasn’t been done before. The Four Pillars of CDT as I now use them everywhere! Also, small token sentences within the thesis have an impact. P340 talks about Barrett’s perspective that we are all architects of our experience, however, I argue that one cannot be the architect of one’s Constructed Development if it is a repeated pattern of thinking/behaving out of awareness. It is thus not a deliberate intention but experiential evidence that produces the lack of choice, as seen in study 5. Genius!!!

37. How has your work been received so far?
Conferences, publications etc? Very well. Where the person can see the point of it, they recognise that the construction of one’s thinking is crucial to our behaving and having a choice in this construction is key to higher level thinking.

38. What are the research implications of your findings?
Stage development might need a rethink. Personality might need a rethink. Trait theory might need a rethink. OCEAN might need a rethink. MBTI might need to be disbanded completely. Social identity theory. Maybe a new field of Psychodynamic CDT…

39. If your thesis were a hashtag, what would it be?
#AwarenessMeasured. #ConstructedDevelopmentTheory. #SelfConstructAware. #IAmSelfConstructing. #ConstructMeAtYourPeril. #IChooseMyConstruction

40. What is the idea that binds your thesis together?
Constructed everything from an IACR perspective. If one could reach my TQ10, then one would realise that every aspect of our thinking is constructed, from the now to the context to the territory on which we base our constructed map.

41. Which are the three most important papers that relate to your thesis?
Measuring Hidden Dimensions by Laske. Stage transition by Commons. Iva? Because it provided the main impetus for research? Aidan for a similar reason? These are different reasons to the intention of the question but more important to me.

42. What published work is closest to yours? How is your work different?
This could be Cook-Greuter’s work. It’s different due to IACR. Linder-Pelz?

43. What advice would you give to a research student entering this area?
Come and talk to me first. Make sure your thinking is Procedural and Detailed, as well as Difference. If you’re not happy with your supervisory team, get rid of them sooner rather than thinking things will get better.

44. What have you done that merits a PhD?
I have created a theory that offers an explanation for how we unconsciously construct our thinking in the moment, how aware we are of this and how at choice we might be to respond in the moment. I have looked at self-awareness, cognition, heuristics, stages and more, and discovered an underlying bridge between them that no one has looked for previously. And found one. I have then created a tool that measures an individual’s level of self-awareness. This tool did not exist on the market before now. I have successfully aligned my theory with several existing psychological theories. A PhD is supposed to be an original contribution to knowledge. I think the fact that I have created my own field with quant and qual support makes it worthy of a PhD.

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