Do you know about any researchers studying human behavior with regard to motivation, habits, and goal-setting, or books/papers about those topics?
December 19, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Do you know about any researchers studying human behavior with regard to motivation, habits, and goal-setting, or books/papers about those topics?

I'm looking to learn about researchers who are studying human behavior with regard to the topics of motivation, habits, and goal-setting, or papers and books related to the same. People who write on the web on these topics would be useful as well!

(A book that would fit this bill would be the rather popular Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman.)

I'm doing research on this topic at the moment, and it would be good to query the hivemind to see if there are researchers, books, or papers that have slipped through the cracks of my Googling (and stir up some serendipity as well).

posted by markbao to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Stumbling on Happiness is right in that vein, and Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain had some interesting neuroscience bits as well (although on the whole I found it a little glib and oversimplified, and it's got a major derail about the legal system that takes up a big chunk of the book.)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:05 PM on December 19, 2012

Check out The Power of Habit. I haven't read it yet, but I recall a few articles in the NYTimes that had some really interesting references to the things he discusses. This article is ostensibly about how companies like Target figure out when and why you shop for certain things, but it also discusses Duhigg's efforts to, say, break a habit that had led to gaining weight.

So check that book out, and then check out his notes and sources. One mentioned in the article: Ann Graybiel of MIT.
posted by Madamina at 12:12 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Willpower" had some eye-opening information.
posted by pgswim at 12:14 PM on December 19, 2012

this topic seems to be a perennial topic for Ted Talks. Here's some good ones
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 12:20 PM on December 19, 2012

BJ Fogg (warning: autoplaying video) runs the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab. Check out the resources section.
posted by kiripin at 1:15 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found this video and it was immensely informative. I am a teacher and it helped me think about what really motivates my students. It's one of those RSA animated talks. It is by Daniel Pink?

Motivation talk - RSA
posted by mermily at 1:29 PM on December 19, 2012

The Power Of Habit (linked above) is a quite interesting take on how habits are created/maintained. The main premise is that there's a cue, a routine and a reward. The cue is the thing that activates the habit - stepping in the shower. the routine is the thing that you do - brushing your teeth. The reward is the benefit you get - shiny teeth, no cavities, etc. To change the habit, keep the cue and the reward, but change the routine.
posted by Solomon at 1:42 PM on December 19, 2012

I'm going to give a bit of an oddball suggestion in case it sends you in an interesting direction. Check out Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor. She's primarily an expert on working with animals, but I read it to think about training in general (including self-training) and I found a lot of ideas from it that I'd never thought about.
posted by spbmp at 7:49 PM on December 19, 2012

Motivation and goal setting can be considered part of the field of organizational behaviour. This paper by Locke, Edwin A.; Latham, Gary P. is a pretty good overview of the state of research around 2002.
The authors summarize 35 years of empirical research on goal-setting theory. They describe the core findings of the theory, the mechanisms by which goals operate, moderators of goal effects, the relation of goals and satisfaction, and the role of goals as mediators of incentives. The external validity and practical significance of goal-setting theory are explained, and new directions in goal-setting research are discussed. The relationships of goal setting to other theories are described as are the theory's limitations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
posted by thatdawnperson at 5:39 PM on December 20, 2012

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