The Motivation Lab
(a) within-person fluctuations in motivation and behavior, and
(b) the influence of automatic motivation processes on behavior.
One example of this work is our innovative study (with N. Ram & A. Pincus) using smartphones to collect intensive longitudinal data on motivation, emotion, behavior, and health at multiple timescales in the natural contexts of everyday experience (the Intraindividual Study of Aging, Healthy, and Interpersonal Behavior). The video below provides an overview of this project and its innovative methods.
- (1) upper gastrointestinal cancer patients undergoing surgical treatment (funding: Penn State Social Science Research Institute [SSRI] and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute),
- (2) insufficiently active and excessively inactive young and midlife adults (funding: Penn State Social Science Research Institute), and
- (3) college students who are insufficiently active and engage in heavy drinking (funding: The Methodology Center supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse grant P50 DA010075).
For more information about our work, please download a copy of the current lab research poster, or check Google Scholar for a list of publications based on research from the Motivation lab (and collaborating labs).
This work has been featured in a number of media outlets, including the Globe & Mail (Toronto), Huffington Post, Prevention Magazine, and Men's Health (to name a few). Listen to Healthbeat podcasts produced by the US Dept of Health & Human Services based on our findings concerning weekly changes in physical activity motivation (released March 26, 2012) and the feel-good effects of physical activity (released April 11, 2012).
The laboratory has 443 sq. ft of dedicated research space and shares an additional 900 sq. ft. of research space with the other psychology labs in the department. It includes a conference table, six computer workstations with internet access, and storage space. Specialized software and hardware are available for experimental data collection (e.g., MediaLab, DirectRT, Qualtrics) and data analysis (e.g., SPSS, AMOS, HLM, MPlus, SAS, R). Other equipment includes Omron pedometers, ActivPAL activity monitors, digital video cameras, audio transcription machines, and an indoor putting green (100 sq. ft.).
Research Opportunities for Students
For information about research opportunities that are available to students, please see the page with information For PSU Undergraduate Students.