Motivated cognition and action lab

The Lab

Ongoing Research

  • Motivational and cognitive factors underlying engagement in risk behavior (risky sexual behavior, self-harm, substance use, drinking and driving)
  • Motivational factors underlying delay discounting
  • The benefits of goal conflict
  • People's failure to pursue goals that are important to them (e.g. exercising, eating a healthy diet)
  • The role of psychological distance in reducing attentional bias toward drug-related cues


Julia Briskin

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology—University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2012
Master of Arts in Psychology—Wayne State University, Detroit, 2017

Julia is a fifth year doctoral student in social psychology. Her research interests focus on how relationship processes and self-regulation processes interact to influence physical and psychological health in romantic couples. Specifically, her research investigates interpersonal influences on self-regulation, the effects of social support on goal pursuit in romantic couples, technology interference in relationships, day to day relationship conflict, and basic self-regulatory processes. She is also interested in how mindfulness may influence self-regulation, relationship processes, and relationship conflict resolution.

Wesley Starnes

Bachelor of Science in Psychology—University of Pittsburgh, 2017

Wesley is a second social psychology doctoral student. His research interests focus broadly on goal systems theory and how individuals navigate the complicated world of choice through means-goal analysis. More specifically, he is interested in the principal of counterfinality and how it relates to individuals’ pursuit of different risk behaviors, such as smoking, drug use, or risky sexual behavior.

Rajiea Sultana

I am a senior working towards my Bachelors of Science in Psychology. My interests lie in the I/O Psychology field. After I complete my bachelor’s, I plan on getting my master’s in I/O Psychology. My ultimate goal is to do research in this field. I would like to work with companies and their employees to understand the factors that motivates the employees to give it their best at the job, as well as what demotivates them. Working as a research assistant is the first step to reaching that ultimate goal.

Petria Idita

My name is Petria Laura Idita, you may call me Laura. I am a fourth year undergraduate psychology major hoping to go on to PA school after graduation. This will be my second semester in the lab, where I will be working as a research assistant, I will also be wrapping up the drinking and driving study along with working on other projects.

Daria Sterp

My name is Daria Sterp. I am a fourth-year undergraduate psychology major. After my Bachelor’s degree, I am hoping to get into PA school and achieve my dream career. This is my first semester being an undergraduate research assistant. In the lab, I will be working on different projects, helping with research and learning new things.

Get involved

If you want to participate in any of our research projects, please contact us at

If you are interested to join the lab as a research assistance please contact Dr. Kopetz at