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Sean McCrea, Ph.D.

Sean McCrea

Chair & Professor

Motivation, Self, Social cognition, Judgment,

Social Psychology


Ph.D., Indiana University 2002

B.A., Bucknell University 1996  • 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 the self-regulation and self-control of health behaviors across different phases of goal pursuit. Other current areas of research interest include judgment and decision making, evolutionary psychology and law, and marketing.



* Research Methods in Psychology

* Motivation

* Advanced Social Psychology

* Introduction to Research

* Self-regulation



  * Newsweek Online (Dec. 10, 2008)

  * The Economist (Jan 24th, 2009 Edition)

  * The New York Times (Jan. 31, 2009)

  * Wissenschaft Aktuell (Jan. 13, 2009)

  * Deutsche Welle (radio interview; Jan. 21, 2009)



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

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S.M. (in press). Environmental Constraints on the Functionality of Inhibitory Self-Control: Sometimes you have to eat the donut. Self and Identity.

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S. M. (in press). Criminal Behavior and Self-Control: Using the Dual Component Theory of Inhibition Regulation to Advance Self-Control and Crime Research. Current Psychology

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S.M. (in press). Spontaneous violent and homicide thoughts in four homicide contexts. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law

Estrada, V., Reynolds, J. J., Freng, S., & McCrea, S. M. (2017). I don’t like the cut of your jib: Perceived facial masculinity as a cue to criminality. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 24, 392-409.

McCrea, S. M., Geršak, G., & Novak, D. (2017). Absolute and relative user perception of classification accuracy in an affective videogame. Interacting with Computers, 29, 271-286.

Jaconis, M., Boyd, S. J., Hartung, C., McCrea, S. M., Canu, W. H., Lefler, E. K. (2016). Sex differences in claimed and behavioral self-handicapping and ADHD symptomatology. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 8, 205-214.

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S.M. (2016). Life history theory and exploitative strategies. Evolutionary Psychology, 14, 1474704916659483.

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S. M. (2016). The Dual Component Theory of Inhibition Regulation: A new model of self-control. New Ideas in Psychology, 41, 8-17.



Recent Presentations

McCrea, S. M. & Reynolds, J. R. (2016). Environmental constraints on the functionality of self-control. Invited address at the University of Konstanz, Germany.

McCrea, S. M. (2016) Placing counterfactual thinking in the context of the theory of action-phases. Presented at the Small Group Meeting on Counterfactual Thinking, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Reynolds, J.J., & McCrea, S.M. (2016, March). Exploitative Strategies and Life History. Paper presented at American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.  

Thuermer, J. L., McCrea, S. M., & McIntyre, B. (May, 2016). Motivated collective defensiveness: On the behavioral consequences of intergroup sensitivity. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation, Chicago, IL.

McCrea, S. M. & Vann, R. (Jan, 2016). Evaluation mindsets: Consequences for thought content, judgment, and processing. Presented at the Frederick Rhodewalt Winter Conference, Park City, Utah.

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

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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