Current Research Themes

Motivation for ecological behaviours

Motivation for ecological behaviours is an important focus of our laboratory. Our work over the past years has concentrated on the influence that governmental policies, perceptions of health risks and information about environmental conditions (as well as the source of this information) have on motivation for ecological behaviours. Some of our works have examined the influence of behaviour difficulty (eg. recycling at home versus away) on individuals’ motivation and the integration of these behaviours in their lifestyles. Finally, we have also examined why individuals remain relatively inactive despite the fact that they consider environmental conditions to be serious.

Self-regulation failure

We are confronted by a multitude of activities which we want or have to regulate every day. In the case of many of these activities, we are highly motivated and we want to succeed. Yet, despite these high levels of motivation, many individuals fail to reach their goals. Over the past years, we have attempted to identify how certain factors interact with individuals’ motivation to provoke failures in self-regulation. For one, we are interested in the “ironic consequence” of mental control on the regulation of motivation for a task. We have also examined how conflicts between individuals’ objectives, interferences with their capacity to be conscious of their actions and the absence of effective strategies influence individuals’ abilities to regulate actions successfully. Finally, we have examined how different types of regulation (eg. self-determined vs. non self-determined types of motivation) are associated either successful or failed attempts at self-regulation.

The analysis and measurement of different types of regulation

Over the past years, an important aspect of our research activities has involved developing and validating questionnaires (both in English and French) that measure the types of regulation in various life domains (eg. leisure activities, sports, therapy, pro-environmental behaviours). These questionnaires have proven themselves useful not only for the study of specific behaviours, but they have also made it possible to determine whether results obtained in one life domain can be replicated in another.

The study of antecedents and consequences of types of regulation

The study of antecedents of motivation involves a large variety of factors (eg. the use of rewards, constraints or punishments). In the context of our research activities, we are principally interested in the influence that interpersonal behaviours (eg. autonomy support, control, and verbal retroaction) can have on different types of regulation. Many consequences have been researched, including the relationship between types of regulation and a variety of cognitive, affective and behavioural consequences. More specifically, over the course of the last years we have become particularly interested in exploring the relationship between types of regulation and behaviour difficulty.

The study of determinants of interpersonal behaviours

Determinants of interpersonal behaviours include factors that encourage an individual in a position of authority to support the autonomy or control the behaviour of a subordinate. The study of determinants includes the supervisor’s dispositional tendency to adopt an autonomy-supportive or a controlling approach, the characteristics of the situation, the subordinate’s behaviour, and the supervisor’s perceptions regarding the subordinate’s motivation. Currently, we are examining the determinants of interpersonal behaviours in the education context (with teachers) and the sport context (with coaches).

The use of strategies aimed at increasing interest for a boring task

Every day, we face having to complete tasks that many of us consider boring. Do strategies exist that could help us make these tasks more interesting? Many individuals make use of strategies that influence the regulation of these activities and help to make them more interesting. Other individuals choose strategies that hardly have any effect on increasing interest levels for these tasks. The study of this type of strategies allows us to conclude that certain individuals successfully regulate their motivation, while others turn to methods that reinforce a vicious cycle of boredom.

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