Motivation and Emotion Research Lab

In the Motivation and Emotion Research Lab, we study the motivational antecedents of positive social behavior and behavior change. In particular, we are interested in understanding how to motivate and support prejudice reduction and diversity appreciation, as well as sustainable proenvironmental behavior.

Tropical Leaves

Research Areas

1. Prejudice Reduction & Diversity Appreciation

A central goal of our research is to leverage motivation science to reduce prejudice and discrimination and promote the valuing and appreciation of diverse others. We investigate the motivational forces that broaden perceivers' awareness of bias and systemic prejudice, and apply those findings to design interventions.

2. Motivational Messaging and Communication

Using motivation theory, we develop and test different forms of messaging and communication in various key domains, including prejudice reduction, sustainable behavior, well-being, and public health. This research suggests that supportive, informative, and empathic communication strategies promote more lasting attitude and behavior change.

Walking the Dog

3. Motivating Proenvironmental Behavior

We also investigate the motivational and value systems that give rise to sustainable and pro-ecological behavior, such as reducing material consumption, increasing proenvironmental habits (e.g., turning off the lights, recycling), and adopting sustainable investments like solar panels. 

4. Human Autonomy

Finally, we examine the basic structure and function of human autonomy and self-determination. We ask questions about the biological foundations of authenticity and self-determination, as well as the different ways in which the fundamental need for autonomy flourishes and falters.