Dr. Andrew J. Elliot, Ph. D., is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Rochester. He has held year-long Visiting Professor positions at the University of Munich (2003-2004), the University of Cambridge (Churchill College, 2008-2009), the University of Oxford (Jesus College, 2013-2014), and Columbia University (Teachers College) and New York University (2022-2023). He conducts research on approach and avoidance motivation, especially achievement motivation, and has published over 300 scholarly papers. He has given keynote or university addresses in 23 different countries, and his lab regularly hosts professors, post-docs, and graduate students from around the globe. He has won numerous research and teaching awards, and has been named a Fellow in 5 different professional organizations. He has been Associate Editor at numerous journals (e.g., Journal of Personality, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Science), and is currently Editor of Advance in Motivation Science. Dr. Elliot has served as President of the Society for the Science of Motivation.
In school, sports, and work, people set goals for what they want to do. In my talk, I will provide an overview of the different types of goals that people pursue in such achievement situations. These goals vary on whether they focus on the task, the self, or others in evaluating competence, and they vary on whether they focus on approaching success or avoiding failure. I will describe both consequences and antecedents of these goals, and I will present the results of new research focusing on both metamotivation and inequality. In the metamotivation research, I have found that people are both accurate (regarding approach goals) and inaccurate (regarding avoidance goals) in their knowledge of the implications of pursuing different achievement goals. In the inequality research, I have found that income inequality in local neighborhoods influences achievement goal pursuit, as mediated by perceived competitiveness in the local environment. These new lines of research highlight the generativity and broad utility of the achievement goal approach to achievement motivation.