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Sunset Clouds and Tree

Our Research

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 questions such as these. 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 self-regulatory 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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