Areas of current research interest:
Personal Projects Analysis (also see Assessment Tools)
Little created Personal Projects Analysis (PPA) as a general methodology for examining the daily pursuits of individuals and groups. PPA was influential in stimulating research on goal pursuit in the fields of personality, social, clinical, organizational and developmental psychology. A comprehensive treatment of this research is found in the book Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action and Human Flourishing. Research with PPA continues to expand and includes psychometric explorations of the methodology, cross-cultural explorations of the content and appraisal of personal projects and studies of the links between personal project features and well-being.
Social Ecology of Human Development
Little’s social ecological framework for studying human development was one of the first to focus explicitly upon the measurement of human-environment transactions and the importance of such transactions for public policy. He continues to do research within this framework and is particularly interested in the link between personality, contexts and personal projects in transitions across the life-span.
In the early seventies Little published articles on the developmental significance of differential orientation toward persons and things. The Thing-Person Scale (T-P Scale) was used to assess individual differences in orientation toward person and things. Although little came of that early work, there is currently considerable interest in such differential orientation, particularly in studies of sex differences and of psychopathology. A new series of studies on differential orientation is currently under way.
The study of personal projects, human development and differential orientation all converge in Little’s research program on the factors that drive and sustain human well-being. With the benefit of collegial links to The Well-being Institute at Cambridge, Little is developing a comprehensive theory and set of assessment tools for the exploration of the quality of lives, well-being and flourishing. He is particularly interested in the incorporation of perspectives from philosophy, economics and anthropology into a comprehensive theory of well-being.