Post Doctoral


Svetlana Komissarouk, Ph.D.


My research applies Regulatory Mode Theory to basic social psychological questions related to decision-making and collaboration: How do people from different cultures approach problem-solving? How diverse are they in their creativity? How does self-regulation influences the life-changing decisions they make and how they interact and affiliate with others?


Mirei Matsuoka-Umeda, Ph.D.


I'm interested in the relationship between individual goals and the self-regulation process across the lifespan. The aging process inevitably involves cognitive and physical decline, but many studies show that older people have lower negative emotion and better self-regulation skills than younger people. My research seeks to explain this paradox - what is the mechanism underlying the relationship between aging and effective self-regulation? Finally, I examine how the aging process differs between Western and Eastern cultures, and how the effect of culture strengthens with age.

Graduate Students


Billur Avlar, 6th Year PhD

Billur Avlar

How can we better understand the interaction between the motivational states and cognition? My research is aimed to understand this interaction by collecting evidence from animal models of mental disorders and also from studying the motivational states in disorders of motivation and cognition in Parkinson's disease patients. In the Higgins lab, I am focused on applying the regulatory mode theory on different type of cognitive functions and assess how those are affected in the disease state.


Maya Rossignac-Milon, 3rd Year PhD

Maya Rossignac-Milon

I study how shared reality - experiencing the world in the same way - fosters interpersonal closeness both between strangers and romantic partners. My current research investigates the motivational processes involved in the development of global shared reality between romantic partners. I hope to use shared reality theory to inform our understanding of the way that our close relationships influence (and are influenced by) the social construction of “truth”.


Mark Conley, 3rd Year PhD

Mark Conley

My research uses regulatory mode theory to find out which chronic motivational states produce optimal individual and team performances. Future research will examine regulatory mode’s effects on aggression. In addition to mode, regulatory focus theory plays an important role in all of my research.


Katherine Zee, 2nd Year PhD

Katherine Zee

I am interested in the ways that self-regulation influences our relationships with the people closest to us. My research primarily explores how individual differences in motivation affect the social support process and, consequently, shape outcomes on both the individual and the dyadic level.


Undergraduate Thesis Students


Kalman Shaya Victor , Senior


I'm interested in studying the psycholinguistic underpinnings of shared reality, how our perceptions of ourselves and others hinge on the ability to put subjective states into words. Specifically, I want to examine how the act of communication--and the specific language used to capture aspects of the self--comes to shape how we establish personal goals and truths in our own internal worlds and within the realties we share with others.


E. Tory Higgins

Lab Members