Approach-Avoidance Motivation Research Group

Group Picture

Approach and avoidance motivation are fundamental and basic to human functioning, and the approach-avoidance perspective is a highly generative and informative lens through which to examine social, personality, and developmental processes. Accordingly, our research group investigates a variety of different topics across diverse disciplines of psychology, using a multitude of research methodologies (laboratory experiments, longitudinal studies, prospective studies, and archival analyses). 

Our lab is comprised of graduate students in social-personality psychology, as well as post-docs and visiting professors, often from countries outside the U.S. We have ongoing collaborations with a number of other labs around the country and world. We can be reached by contacting Dr. Andrew Elliot at andye@psych.rochester.edu or Dr. Elliot's assistant, Christine Schulz, at christine.schulz@rochester.edu.

Ongoing programs in our research group:

  • Achievement goal structure and process: Examining the different ways in which individuals approach success and avoid failure in their goal pursuits, and the implications of differential goal pursuit for affect, cognition, and behavior.
  • Approach and avoidance social goals: Examining the structure of social goals, as well as the antecedents and consequences of pursuing different types of approach and avoidance-focused social goals.
  • Subtle cues that trigger approach and avoidance motivation: Examining the way in which subtle cues (e.g., shape, color) from different sensory systems impact motivation and performance without the individual's awareness.

*For an overview of research on competence-based motivation, please see Dr. Elliot and Dr. Dweck's: Handbook of Competence and Motivation (Guilford Press).

*For an overview of research on approach-avoidance motivation, please see Dr. Elliot's Handbook of Approach and Avoidance Motivation (Taylor & Francis).

Research Group:

Recent Publications (Selected)