Clarkson professor delivers plenary address at conference in Rochester
Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 8:21 am

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Psychology Lisa Legault recently delivered an invited plenary address at the Fifth International Self-Determination Theory Conference in Rochester.

She was invited to open the conference with a session on “New Directions in Basic Self-Determination Science." Legault was recognized with this honor due to her latest research linking different motivational states to specific brain processes that are related to task performance.

In her talk, Legault described her research on the role of motivational orientation in predicting how people respond to performance errors, and thereby regulate their behavior.

Her research suggests that when motivation for a given task is autonomous and internally-driven, rather than externally pressured or coerced, people not only perform better, but also show enhanced neural sensitivity to their errors (measured using electroencephalography), which is related to error reduction. Her research extends self-determination theory by suggesting that autonomous motivation promotes heightened distress responses to failures, which improves subsequent goal regulation.

The international conference attracted 700 attendees from 38 countries -- all motivation researchers and practitioners studying the role of self-determination in various life domains, including health, sports, education, environmental behavior, and relationships.