Carnegie Mellon University

Psychology Events

100th Year Celebration of CMU Psychology


"The Will and the Way: Intertwined Routes to Behavior Change"

Elliot Berkman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Director, Center for Translational Neuroscience, University of Oregon

Monday, September 17, 2018, 12-1:30pm, 336B Baker Hall

Efforts to change habitual behavior in humans have followed two interrelated paths. Some programs focus on affective and motivational routes to behavior change, termed here the will. Others focus on cognitive and informational routes, the way. Effective, durable behavior change can only be achieved by addressing both the will and the way, though most programs target only one and rarely do so with a clearly articulated theory of change. In this talk, I describe research in my lab on the will and the way with respect to self-regulation and behavior change with an emphasis on theory-based translational neuroscience interventions. I discuss cognitive training studies aimed at improving inhibitory control, emotion regulation, and a construct in the conscientiousness domain called planfulness. I also present behavior change interventions in the domains of eating and smoking cessation that target motivation and draw upon theory from social psychology and methods from neuroscience and behavioral economics. I close by offering thoughts about how psychological theory and research would look different if it were to adopt a prescriptive rather than descriptive stance.

All lectures are open to the public.   For more information, call 412-268-3151.