Motive-Goal Conflict

Previous research across different life domains (e.g., in sports) has convincingly shown that the incongruence between people´s implicit motives (stable personality characteristics, themes:  achievement, affiliation, power, autonomy motive) and their goals has harmful effects on emotional well-being, motivation, and performance. This non-fit of motives and goals is assumed to elicit a psychological conflict that requires self-control. The aim of our research group is to examine the nature of this conflict in detail. Besides questionnaires, we use fNIRS to investigate the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as an indicator of conflict and we assess cortisol and alpha-amylase to examine physiological stress elicited by motive-goal incongruence. Click on our Sport Psychology Lab to learn more about our methods


This line of research is primarily pursued by Julia Schüler and Wanja Wolff. This research consists of experiments and correlational field studies and is suitable for a Bachelor- or Master thesis. Students are encouraged to contact Julia Schüler if they are interested in doing a thesis on this topic (contact).