Approach-Avoidance Motivation Research Group

Group Picture

Approach and avoidance motivation are fundamental and basic to human functioning, and the approach-avoidance perspective is a highly generative and informative lens through which to examine social, personality, and developmental processes. Accordingly, our research group investigates a variety of different topics across diverse disciplines of psychology, using a multitude of research methodologies (laboratory experiments, longitudinal studies, prospective studies, and archival analyses). 

  • Achievement goal structure and process: Examining the different ways in which individuals approach success and avoid failure in their goal pursuits, and the implications of differential goal pursuit for affect, cognition, and behavior.
  • Approach and avoidance social goals: Examining the structure of social goals, as well as the antecedents and consequences of pursuing different types of approach-and avoidance-focused social goals.
  • Competition and motivation: Examining how competition in all its forms (trait, perceived, structural) influences psychological processes and outcomes.
  • Inequality and motivation. Everything the influence of income - and race - based inequality on perceived competitiveness, approach - avoidance motivation, and downstream outcomes (e.g., health, wellbeing).
  • Meta-motivation and motivation perception: Examining the accuracy of our knowledge about our own motivation and others' motivation.

Our lab is comprised of graduate students in social-personality psychology, as well as post-docs and visiting professors, often from countries outside the US. We have ongoing collaborations with a number of other labs around the country and world. We can be reached by contacting Dr. Andrew Elliot at Ongoing programs in our research group:

For an overview of Dr. Elliot's area of research see his "Handbook of Competence and Motivation, 2nd Edition: Theory and Application (Guilford Press)"

Selected Publications

2021 and In Press