Research interestsSocial Psychology Motivation Social Cognition Judgment and Decision Making
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1973
General research area
Motivation & social cognition; Judgment and decision making; Prejudices and weaknesses in self-regulation.
Current research deals with the general question 'Where does the value come from?' The classic answer to this question is that value arises from the hedonic experiences - the joys and pains - associated with an activity or object. The Higgins lab examines another source of value experience - how committed you are to something. The strength of the engagement can be increased or decreased by various factors. In a research program, the Higgins Laboratory showed that engagement levels increase when the way people pursue a goal and their current motivation while pursuing a goal match. This regulatory fit increases the intensity of the reaction to something, regardless of whether that reaction is positive or negative. The implications of regulatory fit in particular and engagement strength in general are examined in the areas of negotiation, decision-making, person perception, interpersonal relationships, persuasiveness, and performance.