Research Overview

Research in the co-laboratory examines the influence of cognitive, non-cognitive, and situational factors on workplace learning, behavior, and performance.

Current research themes in the lab include:

  1. Adult intellectual development
  2. Job search and reemployment outcomes
  3. Individual difference determinants of learning and skilled performance
  4. Self-regulation
  5. Motivation and emotion at the individual and team levels
  6. Aging and the workplace.

Current and Prior Projects

Sloan Foundation grant awarded to Ruth Kanfer (Psychology) and Julia Melkers (Public Policy)

This project seeks to identify and empirically evaluate a “whole person” model of training efficacy and learning outcomes among working adults engaged in Georgia Tech’s Online Master’s Program in Computer Science (OMSCS). The project will develop and validate a new multidimensional measure of adult training efficacy, and investigate the relative influence of personal/social resources and task demands on efficacy judgments, training strategies, and program progress. Using a diverse adult learning population and multi-format methodology, the project will also explore gender differences in the determinants and consequences of efficacy at different points in the program. Results are expected to establish the benefits of a whole person framework for further improving training for mid-career adults.

Integrating trait, subjective judgment and physiological measures

This project concerns attempts to ‘triangulate’ individual levels of ability, task performance, self-reports of effort and fatigue, and physiological indicators of cognitive and affective reactions to task demands. Studies being conducted for this project focus on performance under different cognitive and motivational demands, such as when an individual acquires skills on a complex air traffic control task, or attempts to reach difficult performance goals.

Selection and Classification of UAS pilots

This project is devoted to developing a selection battery for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) pilots, and a set of classification tools to maximize person-job fit for this job.  The project involves development and refinement of assessments of abilities, and non-ability traits (e.g., personality, motivation, interests, self-concept, background experiences); pilot testing and in-lab criterion-based validity assessment.

Job Search and Employment Transitions

Job search and employment change represent a basic feature of contemporary worklife. We conceptualize job search as a self-regulatory process in which individuals must actively regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior for the purpose of successfully attaining new employment.  Over the past decade we have studied the person and situation factors that affect job search goals, self-regulatory strategies, and outcomes among first-time job entrants, people who have lost their job, and aging workers.  Current research focuses on the impact oftime on job search activities, work attitudes, affective states, and employment decision processes. 

Motivation and Self-Regulation in Team Environments

The goal of this recent research stream is to understand the cross-level influences of individual-level and team-level motivational processes on task motivation and performance.  Our current research project in this area focuses on the dynamic person and team processes that affect motivation in interprofessional healthcare teams.

Studying and Multitasking

We are starting a set of pilot studies to understand how students multitask (i.e., work on two or more tasks at a time) with audio, video, computer, etc. sources while also studying.  Data analysis is currently under way, as are plans for follow-up investigations.

Optimal AP Portfolios with Special Reference to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Majors and Gender Differences

The goal of this project, sponsored by The College Board, is to determine configurations of Advanced Placement (AP) test completion that  are optimal for success in the science, technology, engineering, and math domains, that is, that are most highly associated with success  (in terms of attrition, GPA, degree attainment, and pursuit of graduate degrees).  Findings that indicate there are optimal AP-type portfolios for success in the STEM areas have practical implications for stakeholders at the high school level, particularly for female students who might wish to pursue STEM majors.

Determinants of High School Optional Course Participation and Performance: A four-year longitudinal study.

The goal of this large-scale research project, sponsored by The Spencer Foundation, is to evaluate multiple  determinants of elective course participation and performance across the high-school years.  These sources  of data will be integrated to determine whether improvements might be made to the process of matching students to elective courses of study during high school.

Work and Aging

The aging of the workforce in both the U.S. and most developed countries, has important ramifications for workers, organizations, and societies. Over the past few years we have focused on scientific and professional activities that aim to better understand and manage the ramifications of an aging workforce. Our current program of research, supported by the Society for Human Resource Management, examines the motivational and situational determinants of retirement attitudes and intentions. In addition, we have partnered with European researchers to investigate the influence of aging diversity on individual well-being and team-level outcomes. Other ongoing and planned projects in this area focus on the development and validation of “Third Age” selection procedures, identifying employee traits and management/work conditions that promote intergenerational knowledge transfer, and age-related differences in motivational traits and work motivation processes and outcomes (e.g., Kanfer & Ackerman, 2004; Kanfer & Ackerman, 2007; Kanfer, in press)

M.S. Research

Lucas Provine (2024). Effects of individual differences in personality traits and self-concept of abilities on willingness to adopt AI tools.

Kern Qi (2024). Feedback-seeking behavior in synchronous remote learning of juggling: effects of individual motivational traits and self-efficacy.

Jenny Erickson (2023). Conceptualization and assessment of the home workspace: A person-centered approach.

Sibley Lyndgaard (2020). Extending models of self-regulated learning to working adults: Implications for online advanced skill training.

Corey Tatel (2020). Real-world task performance: The role of abilities, non-ability traits, and proximal variables.

Justin Sabree (2018). The effects of an enhanced goal setting strategy on goal progress and well-being.

Victor Ellingsen (2013).  Academic self-concept under typical and maximal environmental press.

Samuel Posnock (2012). Determinants of subjective cognitive fatigue in everyday problem-solving.

Matthew Betts (2012).  Occupational and general future time perspectives’ relationship with work-related correlates.

Matt Kerry (2012). Person and professional program determinants of health provider student attitudes toward inter-professional teamwork

Erin Marie Conklin (2010). Procrastination: Misuse of self-regulatory resources may lead to fatigue

Julie Nguyen (2010). Predictors of retirement and coping in response to delayed retirement

Charles Calderwood (2009). The role of trait neuroticism in predicting subjective fatigue states

Sunni Newton (2009). The effects of caffeine on cognitive fatigue

Min Young Kim (2008). The relationship between risk-taking judgment and mood regulation

Stacey Wolman (2005). The effects of biographical data on the prediction of domain knowledge

Mark Wolf (2004). Extraversion and intelligence: A meta-analytic investigation

Mary Boyle (2003). Personality and interest predictors of academic self-concept

Kristy Bowen (2001). Gender differences in knowledge

Tracy Kantrowitz (2000). A meta-analytic review of personality-motivational antecedents of job search behavior and employment outcomes

Aileen Worden (2000). Goal orientation: Building a nomological network

Margaret Beier (1999). Knowledge structures in current events: The assessment of non-academic knowledge

*Anna Cianciolo (1997). Computerized assessment of psychomotor ability

*Amy Enrooth (1997). Individual differences in motivational skills: Preliminary evidence for two skill classes

*Kevin Field (1996). Effects of the form of feedback on performance, self-competency judgements, and affective reactions

*Eric Heggestad (1995). Conceptions of ability and self-efficacy: An analysis of their relation to performance in the context of procedural skill acquisition

*Eric Rolfhus (1995). Declarative knowledge structures: An examination of knowledge-ability relations

*Robert Goska (1994). An aptitude-treatment interaction approach to transfer: A test of Ackerman (1990)

*Todd Murtha (1994). Towards a taxonomy of psychological situations: An integrative situational-dispositional model of personality traits

*Caroline Cochran (1993). Procedural and distributive justice and perceptions of instructor performance: Students’ reactions to injustice in the classroom

*Maynard Goff (1992). Personality-intelligence relations: Assessing typical intellectual engagement

*Cherita McIntyre (1991). An investigation of the learning strategies and study habits of undergraduate achievers and underachievers

Ph.D. Research

Corey Tatel, Ph.D. (2023). A meta-analytic investigation of procedural skill retention and decay.

Justin Sabree, Ph.D. (2020). The multilevel interplay of team health culture, department health culture, and employee health motivation to predict health behaviors and job satisfaction.

Victor J Ellingsen, Ph.D. (2017). Informal reasoning with and without the Internet: An individual differences approach.

Samuel Posnock (2015). Dynamic person, context, and event determinants of individual motivation in teams.

Matthew Betts, Ph.D. (2013). Future time perspective:  Examination of multiple conceptualizations and work-related correlates.

Sunni Haag Newton (2013). Gender differences in STEM career paths.

Erin Marie Conklin, Ph.D. (2013).  An empirical examination of the relationship between self-regulation and self-control.

Charles Calderwood, Ph.D. (2012). Theoretical development and empirical examination of the nomological network of off-job reactivity to daily occupational stressors.

Yonca Toker, Ph.D. (2010). Non-ability correlates of the science-math trait complex: Searching for personality characteristics and revisiting vocational interests.

Mark Wolf, Ph.D. (2009). Determinants of how undergraduate students attend to and perceive features of elective courses

Stacey Wolman, Ph.D. (2008). Self-estimates of job performance and learning potential

Erin Page, Ph.D. (2007). The construct and concurrent validity of worker/peer attachment

Tracy Kantrowitz, Ph.D. (2004). Development and construct validation of a measure of soft skills performance

Margaret Beier, Ph.D. (2003). Ability, personality, interests, and experience determinants of domain knowledge acquisition

Anna Cianciolo , Ph.D. (2001). Unitary or differentiated ability constructs for describing performance? Investigating individual differences and task characteristics

*Eric Rolfhus (1998) Assessing individual differences in knowledge: Knowledge structures and traits

*Kevin Field (1998) Assessment and application of psychomotor abilities using a new computerized (touch-panel) method

*Eric Heggestad (1997) Motivation from a personality perspective: The development of a measure of motivational traits

*Maynard Goff (1994) Understanding vocational self-concept and related domains: A hierarchical factor-analytic approach

*Robert Schneider (1992) An individual-differences approach to understanding and predicting social competence

*Debra Steele (1988). The effects of task complexity, experience, and goals on performance.