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Michelle vanDellen

Michelle vanDellen

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For centuries, people have struggled with the challenge of succeeding at self-control. In a given day, people are able to a great number of tasks. In a given moment, it is actually very difficult to exert self-control if it is needed. My research is aimed at understanding how personality traits and situational factors are involved in successful self-control.

My current research focuses on understanding the self in social context. My research team and I have found that the presence of others who are successful at self-control (either as a trait or in a situation) can increase the extent to which a person exerts self-control. There appears to be a limit to the benefit of others, however. People who are perceived as overachievers actually undermine the motivation required to exert self-control and lead to decreased performance and persistence. Additionally, my research team is currently examining how people navigate their social world to increase their likelihood of exerting self-control and how couples manage the responsibility each partner bears for contributing to joint efforts.

In addition, I maintain active research projects investigating the self-system more generally, including how people think about their self-esteem and how social relationships are a fundamental framework through which the self is understood and managed.

Primary Interests:

  • Health Psychology
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • vanDellen, M. R., Allen, A. B., & Campbell, W. K. (in press). Self-esteem, narcissism, and self-compassion: Individual differences in reacting to social exclusion. To appear in C.N. DeWall (Ed.), Handbook of Social Exclusion.
  • vanDellen, M. R., Bradfield, E. K., Hoyle, R. H. (2010). Self-regulation of state self-esteem following threat: Moderation by trait self-esteem (pp. 430-446). In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Handbook of self-regulation and personality. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Courses Taught:

  • Elementary Psychology
  • Honors Seminar in Elementary Psychology
  • Research Analysis/Statistical Methods
  • Research Laboratory in Social Psychology
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Psychology

Michelle vanDellen
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University
417 Chapel Drive
Durham, North Carolina 27708
United States

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