Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Steven Alvarez

Second Advisor

Derek Owens

Third Advisor

Amy King


This dissertation raises the question of how educators can incorporate research about the human mind to foster and support student growth throughout writing processes. In understanding how our minds process, interpret, and generate writing, valuable insights can be learned about the process of composing. Valuing the varying perspectives students possess and the types of texts with which students engage aid in developing not only what Paul Joy Guilford calls “divergent thinking,” but also a sense of empowerment and ownership over the writing process. In disrupting what Robert Thatcher calls “the phase-lock mode” and guiding students through reworking the writing process in a way that is most effective for themselves, the automatic process of composing will be revamped to reflect genuine and innovative writing. Breaking from the linear process of creation into a recursive approach will bring the classroom closer to what Steven Johnson calls the “adjacent possible” and will bring students closer to composing authentic writing.