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Participant in a study of serious gaming

Motivation and Cognition Laboratory

Department of Psychology, University of Wyoming



Motivation and Cognition lab members

Our lab conducts research on the interplay of motivational and cognitive processes in human behavior. 

We examine the role of cognitive processes in self-regulation and achievement behavior. Examples include: the operation of inhibitory self-control; prospective memory; evaluative mindset.

Conversely, we are interested in the impact of motivational factors on decision making, learning, and performance. Examples include: academic preparation among stigmatized groups; defensive behavior in performance settings; intrinsic motivation and performance in games. 

Accepting Graduate Students for Fall 2020



 Lab members


Principal Investigator

Dr. Sean McCrea

University of Wyoming
Department of Psychology, Dept. 3415
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071

Sean McCrea




Alexandra Bitter, M.S.

Research interests

Self-handicapping among women in STEM fields


Self-control in health behavior

Psychology and Law

Alex Bitter




C. J. Erion, B.A.

Research interests

Public shaming

Intergroup criticism

Photo of CJ Erion


Former Lab Members:

Angel Munoz Gomez Andrade, Ph.D., Earlham College

Joshua Reynolds, Ph.D., University of Scranton

Richard Vann, Ph.D., Penn State Behrend

Trent Wondra, Ph.D., Barry University                            


lab meeting

Research Activities


Current projects:

Self-handicapping in stigmatized groups


Mindset model of action phases

Self-control in health behaviors

Defensiveness in groups

Feedback in serious games


Recent Publications:

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.

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.

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

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. DOI: 10.1002/mar.21116

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

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. doi: 10.1080/15298868.2017.1354066

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S. M. (2017). Criminal behavior and self-control: Using the Dual Component Theory of Inhibition Regulation to advance self-control and crime research. Current Psychology, doi:10.1007/s12144-017-9567-y

Reynolds, J. J., & McCrea, S.M. (2017). Spontaneous violent and homicide thoughts in four homicide contexts. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 24, 605-627.

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.

Grant Activity:

2017-2020  A Kinder, Gentler Technology: Enhancing Human-Machine Symbiosis Using Adaptive, Personalized Affect-Aware Systems, PI Domen Novak (UW), NSF 1717705

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)


External Research Collaborators:

Dr. Peter M. Gollwitzer, New York University; University of Konstanz (Germany)

Dr. Edward R. Hirt, Indiana University

Dr. Lukas Thuermer, Paris Lodron University, Salzburg (Austria)

Dr. Frank Wieber, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland)

Contact Us

Sean McCrea, Ph.D.

University of Wyoming

Department of Psychology

Department 3415

Laramie , WY 82071

Fax: 307 -766-2926


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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