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Welcome to the Motivation Science Lab

Our lab investigates the complex and dynamic world of human motivation and goal pursuit.  What makes us reach for the stars, huddle in a corner, get out of bed, help others, break our diets, save for retirement, follow rules, and color outside the lines?


We take a social psychological approach to explore motivation science questions. In particular, we attempt to understand how situational and individual factors lead people to both manage and mismanage life’s challenges and opportunities. We focus on the trade-offs related to different motivational states and goals (e.g., when does looking on the bright side help versus hurt us? When does seeing the glass as half-empty support versus hinder our goals?) and examine the critical role of motivational flexibility in navigating the world.


We investigate fundamental and basic processes related to goal pursuit, decision-making, social regulation, motivated social cognition, and behavior change. We also examine how an understanding of these basic processes can be leveraged to improve people’s lives.

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Potential Graduate Students

Dr. Scholer anticipates recruiting graduate students for the Fall 2024 Cycle. More information to follow soon.

Lab Snapshots over Time

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