Research Interests

My research interests bridge topics of the psychology of motivation, development, and personality.

Motivation and emotion in education and workplaces

I wrote my Ph.D. thesis about passion, and studied situational aspects of engagement and task values during my post-doc period at the University of Helsinki (2013-2015). Generally speaking, I am interested in trait and state determinants of the motivation to approach, engage and persist in activities, with particular focus on learning and performance in educational settings and workplaces.

As of 2016, I investigate emotions and motivation in workplaces in a collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Faas Foundation.

Co-occurrences of positive and negative emotions and “the dark side” of high motivation

I have examined state and trait aspects of academic emotions. This has led me to study the ‘dark side’ of high motivation (= co-occurring exhaustion, stress, anxiety), and the ‘bright side’ of negative emotions (= co-occurrences between experiences of anxiety, stress, frustration, and positive, beneficial experiences). I am particularly interested in the beneficial and potentially harmful aspects of motivation and specific emotions in learning settings, their situational, personal, and contextual determinants, and the possibilities to identify and support students’ individual emotional and motivational needs.

Research Methods

Regarding research methods, I am interested in the analysis of multilevel intensive longitudinal data (e.g. Experience Sampling Method) in combination with person-oriented approaches (intra-individual analyses).

For example, I use co-occurrence network analysis to examine the intra-individual co-occurrences of emotions. In other studies, I use cluster analysis / latent profile analysis to examine intra-individual or within-situation profiles of motivational aspects, such as harmonious and obsessive passion, or engagement and burnout.

I also study methodological particularities that are relevant in handling intensive longitudinal data and intra-individual analyses, such as widely unknown problems that arise from z-standardizing repeated measures within individuals, or the validity of experience sampling method data compared to common one-time questionnaire measures.

Bridging Developmental and Personality Psychology, I use long-term experience sampling method studies to disentangle the situational state and stable trait components of motivation, integrating measures of change and stability in joint studies and frameworks.

In sum, my research answers to calls for more situational and intra-individual analyses (Molenaar, 2004; Fleeson, 2004) and contributes to the research on personality development. To support these approaches, I am an associate editor for the Journal for Person-Oriented Research.

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