Sean McCrea, Ph.D.

Sean McCrea

Chair & Professor

Motivation, Self, Social cognition, Judgment,

Social Psychology


Full CV



Ph.D., Indiana University 2002

B.A., Bucknell University 1996


Contact  • Bio Sciences Bldg 109


Academic positions

2019-present Professor, University of Wyoming

2013-2019 Associate Professor, University of Wyoming

2009-2013 Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming

2003-2009 Assistant Professor for Motivational and Social psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany


Research Interests

My current research interests broadly focus on the interplay of motivational and cognitive processes. Our laboratory is currently focusing on defensive behaviors in a variety of contexts, particularly self-handicapping behavior and protecting group identity. In addition, our laboratory is investigating public shaming and compassion. Other areas of research interest include phases of goal-pursuit, judgment and decision making, psychology and law, and marketing.



* Research Methods in Psychology

* Motivation

* Advanced Social Psychology

* Social cognition

* Self-regulation



Book Chapters and Invited Papers

Tyser, M. P., & McCrea, S. M. (2012). Behavioral consequences of counterfactual thinking: A self-evaluation model. In J. N. Franco & A. E. Svensgarad (Ed.). Handbook on Psychology of Motivation: New Research. Hauppuage, NY: Nova Science.

Gollwitzer, P. M., Wieber, F., Myers, A. L., & McCrea, S. M. (2010). How to maximize implementation intention effects? In C. R. Agnew, D. E. Carlston, W. G. Graziano, J. R. Kelly (Eds), Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research (pp. 137-161). New York: Oxford Press.

McCrea, S. M., Myers, A. L., & Hirt, E. R. (2009). Self-handicapping as an anticipatory self-protection strategy. In E. P. Lamont (Ed.). Social Psychology: New Research. (pp. 31-53). Hauppuage, NY: Nova Science.


Journal Articles

Darzi, A., McCrea, S. M., & Novak, D. (2021). User Experience with Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment Methods for an Affective Exergame: Comparative Lab-Based Study. JMIR Serious Games, 9(2):e25771. 


Thuermer, J. L., & McCrea, S. M. (2021). Disentangling the Intergroup Sensitivity Effect: Defending the Ingroup or Enforcing General Norms? European Journal of Social Psychology. 


Reynolds, J. J., Estrada-Reynolds, V., Freng, S. & McCrea, S. M. (2021). Cheese it, it’s the Fuzz: Testing the Belief that Guilt Predicts Police Avoidance. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 16, 84-106. 


Darzi, A., Wondra, T., McCrea, S. M., & Novak, D. (2019). Classification of Multiple Psychological Dimensions in Computer Game Players Using Physiology, Performance and Personality Characteristics. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Neural Technology.


Reynolds, J.J., Estrada-Reynolds, V.C., Freng, S., & McCrea, S.M. (2019). Investigator beliefs of homicide crime scene characteristics. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 15, 60-85. 


Thuermer, J. L., McCrea, S. M., & McIntyre, B. (2019). Motivated collective defensiveness: Group members prioritize counter-arguing over getting their work done. Social Psychological & Personality Science, 10, 382-392.


Reynolds, J. J.*, & McCrea, S.M. (2019). Environmental constraints on the functionality of inhibitory self-control: Sometimes you have to eat the donut. Self and Identity, 18, 60-86. 


McCrea, S. M., & Vann, R. (2018). Postactional goal pursuit: consequences of task completion for thought content, affect, and behavioral intentions. Motivation and Emotion, 42, 852-870.   


Vann, R., Rosa, J., & McCrea, S. M. (2018). When consumers struggle: Action crisis and its effects on problematic goal pursuit. Psychology and Marketing, 35, 696-709.  


Thuermer, J. L., & McCrea, S. M., (2018). Beyond motivated reasoning: Hostile reactions to critical comments from the outgroup. Motivation Science, 4, 333-346.


Recent Presentations

Bitter, A., McCrea, S. (2020, February) “Because You’re a Girl”: Self-handicapping as a consequence of gender stigma consciousness. Poster presented at the 21st annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA.

Wondra, T., & McCrea, S. (2020, February). Adaptive task-delaying: Reexamining how procrastination can be beneficial in both the short-term and long-term. Poster presented at the 21st annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA

McCrea, S. M., Thürmer, J. L., McIntyre, B. (2020, January). Motivated collective defensiveness: Prioritizing responding to outgroup critics. Presented at the Fred Rhodewalt Winter Conference, Salt Lake City, UT

Research Grants

2017-2020  A Kinder, Gentler Technology: Enhancing Human-Machine Symbiosis Using Adaptive, Personalized Affect-Aware Systems, PI Domen Novak (UW), NSF

2015 Treatment noncompliance as a form of self-handicapping behavior, University of Wyoming (PI)

2014 Overcoming collective defensiveness with implementation intentions, University of Konstanz (Collaboration with PI Dr. Lukas Thuermer, University of Konstanz)

Research Lab

Motivation and Cognition Lab

Contact Us

Department of Psychology

1000 E University Ave

Dept. 3415

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6303


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