Self regulation Lab


The Self-Regulation Lab studies the topics of self and identity and in particular their relation to motivation. Specifically, the lab is interested in how people perceive the self and how the self regulates its own responses (i.e., self-regulation). Our research has explored how people pursue and maintain their goals and how environmental factors (e.g., self-control depletion) and individual difference factors (e.g., level of fusion with one's goal) influence these processes. 

Below are a few examples of the research topics explored by the Self-Regulation Lab:

The Self

The self-system involves people’s ability to think consciously about themselves, to form concepts of what they are like and what they want to achieve (i.e., goals), to evaluate their characteristics and capabilities, to plan for the future, and to direct their own behavior in line with their goals.

One way research in the lab has explored this topic is by examining the overlap that people perceive they have between their self and their goal (i.e., Goal Fusion). After developing a novel measure of goal fusion, we found that the more people feel fused with their goals, the more likely they are to invest in their goals, achieve their goals, and feel a sense of self-concept clarity when receiving positive goal feedback.

Another way our lab has explored this topic is by examining how people perceive their own talents and abilities. People who adopt an entity perspective perceive their abilities as stable and resistant to change, whereas people who adopt an incremental perspective perceive their abilities as malleable and improvable. Research in our lab has explored how these differences in self-definitions influence a number of interesting responses and behaviors.

Goals and Motivation

A great deal of motivation research has examined the topic of goal pursuits; however, this research has primarily focused on goals in isolation. In reality, people must often juggle multiple goals at once (e.g., career and family goals). Work in our lab has investigated how people manage their multiple goals.

For example, we have found that people are more committed to their goals when they feel positive emotions regarding their goal progress (i.e., goal satisfaction), when they have invested many resources into their goal pursuit (i.e., goal satisfaction), and when they are pursuing few additional goals that may conflict with their focal goal (i.e., goal alternatives). Furthermore, our research shows that not only do these three factors influence people’s own level of goal commitment, but they are the same pieces of information people use when judging another’s goal commitment.