Welcome to our lab!
An introduction to our research:
How do individuals successfully navigate their intra- and interpersonal worlds? In our lab, we explore how and why individuals are able to both effectively manage and sometimes disastrously mismanage themselves in the pursuit of their goals. We take a general principles approach to exploring these issues, which posits that “person” and “situation” variables are simply different sources of the same general underlying principles or mechanisms. How do orientations towards nurturance versus security affect perceptions, judgments, decisions, and behavior? How do the strategic and tactical ways in which individuals engage in goal pursuit affect well-being and self-regulatory effectiveness? We embrace a motivated cognition framework in pursuing both basic and applied questions relating to self-regulation.
What are the motivational underpinnings of negotiation? How is a negotiation experienced? The Negotiatory Lab is involved in many areas of negotiation research, from the investigation of power and social support (led by Poonam) to the investigation of focus-role regulatory fit (led by Kirstin). Generally, we are interested in the motivations (e.g., creating win-win situations vs. maximizing own outcomes, maximizing gains vs. minimizing losses) that drive negotiators as they strategically prepare and negotiate. Additionally, we are interested in how negotiators experience the negotiation (e.g., do they have a sense of power?, how do they feel about their roles?). The Negotiatory Lab meets throughout the academic year; please email Kirstin for more information.
What motivates us to make the decisions we do? How does the decision maker’s regulatory focus impact the process and its experience? In general, the research in this area looks at underlying motivational underpinnings of decision-making and how they translate into strategic and tactical choices. What role does chronic and state-induced regulatory focus play in strategic and tactical choices? We examine how a promotion-oriented individual generally preferring to use eager strategies might differ in tactical choices from a prevention-oriented person who prefers vigilant strategies. Does eagerness translate to a particular set of tactics, or does the actual choice vary depending upon the constraints of the decision? We examine the role of strategic preferences in decisions under uncertainty (led by Abby), over time (led by Kerry) and those involving multiple and often conflicting motives (led by Poonam and Kirstin).
In our educatory lab, we are investigating new ways to motivate learners. We believe learning should be a more active, agentic experience instead of a passive accumulation of information. In order to create this agentic experience, we are using Regulatory Engagement Theory to search for new ways to engage readers in class and at home. We are interested in the relationship between a reader and a text, and how that experience can be more agentic, resulting in better comprehension of reading material. Taking a serious look at the culture and structure of the learning environment, we are interested in increasing the value of the knowledge itself, as well as the process of learning. We have been using feedback to explore many of these questions, examining how learners react to positive or negative feedback about their performance, and what that tells us about motivational issues in learning.