How do people successfully manage their actions to achieve longer-term goals? Why do they often fail to do so and how do successes and failures in self-regulation influence people's lives; their performance, their social relationships, their health? Our research addresses these questions by investigating determinants, processes, and consequences of effort, self-regulation, and goal striving. Answers to these questions provide the foundation for theory based psychological interventions aimed at improving people’s self-regulation and addressing various social problems.

Our research examines diverse contexts, including education, work, health, and environmentally friendly behavior using laboratory and field-experimentation.

Educational Equality

In one line of research, we further investigate the role of mindsets for educational equality and develop psychological interventions that may improve educational equality through changes in relevant perceptions. Currently, we for example investigate in how far a positive reframing of individuals' identity or an induced sense of a malleable self can help negatively stereotyped students stay engaged in important situations.

Lay beliefs and climate change

Climate change is one of humanity’s big current challenges. Thus, it is vital to understand how people’s beliefs and behavior around climate change evolve. We are looking at how people’s lay beliefs about the world impact their climate change belief and pro-environmental behavior. Lay beliefs about the world refer to the belief that the world at large is either changeable by humans or rather uncontrollable. Ultimately, this could be used to motivate people to not only acknowledge climate change as a threat, but also act accordingly. In this context, we are looking at both explicit and implicit measures of lay beliefs about the world and climate change belief as well as experimental manipulations of lay beliefs. Furthermore, we implement different measures of pro-environmental behavior such as self-reports, effort investment (e. g. through cardiovascular measures) and actual behavior.

Determinants of Effort Mobilization and its Cardiovascular Correlates

Effort mobilization is one of the building blocks of goal pursuit. It not only helps to determine how intensely a person will try on their chosen goal pursuit tasks, but is a direct indicator of when disengagement has occurred from said tasks. Based off of Motivational Intensity Theory, this line of research focuses on predicting effort mobilization and disengagement depending on the task one needs to accomplish, the situation they are asked to accomplish it in, and characteristics of the person accomplishing said task. Due to the low level of reliability present in self-reported effort assessments, we utilize cardiovascular correlates of effort mobilization to provide us a more direct measure of effort.

Effort-Talent RRT

It is widely accepted that effort expenditure is highly important in order to be successful in school, work, and life in general. Therefore, educational and work environments often highlight the importance of effort over talent. Is such a framing of effort importance the general key to success? We explore the idea that one does not only have to believe that effort is important but also enjoy doing it in order to be engaged and successful. We study how effort importance mindset (vs. talent importance mindset) and effort enjoyment interact in different contexts.