New Staff: Dr. Patricia Chen

Dr. Patricia Chen joined our Department in August 2017 from Stanford University, where she did her postdoctoral training. She previously obtained her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan.

She investigates the motivational and strategic factors that contribute to people’s learning, performance, and well-being. She keenly pursues questions like: Why are some people of similar ability able to achieve more with less effort than others? How can we empower people to self-manage their learning in a strategic manner? What do people ideally want out of work and what is stopping them from getting to these ideal work circumstances? What does the pursuit of passion entail, and how can it be achieved in the workplace?

Her research develops psychological theories about the mindsets and behaviors that motivate people, and about how people think strategically about the way they approach their goal pursuit. Leveraging these psychological theories, she designs and tests psychological interventions aimed at cultivating the motivations and strategies that help people achieve their goals at work, in school, and for better health.

Dr. Patricia Chen is keen on working with students who are passionate about doing research on motivation and strategic self-regulation with her. She would like to work with students who love psychology as a subject, are dedicated to the research process, and have a desire to use psychology to affect societal change. Interested students may contact her at

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