Research into the regulation of motivation and affect

Motivation, goal pursuit and affect regulation are fundamental to human experience. Personal goals are  defined as cognitive representations of desired end states and represent a key component of motivation. Goals typically give people a sense of meaning, purpose and direction in life, and a framework for interpreting everyday life experiences and regulating emotion. Personal goal striving promotes personality development and positive psychological adaptations in life. Goal striving requires ongoing self-regulation that, in turn, modulates an individual’s affect, thoughts, behavior or attention. Increasingly, research is implicating goal dysregulation and associated cognitive appraisals in the aetiology and maintenance of affective disorders.

Motivation and personal goal striving is integrally associated with emotional regulation and emotional states. Emotion regulation is how we respond to and manage how we are feeling. As with goal motivation, effective emotion regulation is important for navigating everyday life. It plays a role in how we perform at personal and interpersonal tasks (work, goals, relationships). Emotion regulation is also important for our well-being. This applies to both positive and negative emotions – difficulties regulating both positive and negative emotions have been linked to mood difficulties, anxiety and poorer functioning in people both with and without a diagnosis of a psychological disorder.

Understanding the impact of personal goals and emotion regulation on how we think, feel, act and experience the world is important for helping us to understand why people sometimes have mood difficulties, and how we can help support people with these.

As a collaborative international research team we welcome enquiries from prospective PhD applicants interested in undertaking PhD research in the areas of motivation, goal striving, and affective regulation in affective disorders and psychological wellbeing.

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Contact details of each researcher are included in the "Researchers" link.

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