Motivation Science Lab Sorry, your browser does not support inline SVG.

Principal Investigator

Prof. Kou Murayama
Professor, Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology at Tübingen University
Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow (Advanced)
Professor, University of Reading
(Honorary Professor, Kochi University of Technology)

Awards (selected)
F. J. McGuigan Early Career Investigator Prize (American Psychological Foundation)
The Richard E. Snow Awards for Distinguished Early Contributions (American Psychological Association, Division 15)
Current Grants (selected)
Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award
Humboldt Professorship

Lab Members


Dr. Lily FitzGibbon
My research interests include curiosity, counterfactual and hypothetical reasoning, executive function and decision making. I am currently investigating the information seeking behaviour that occurs after decision making in adults and children. I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2015, and have since held postdoctoral positions at the University of Birmingham and the University of Southern California.
Dr. Carolyn McNabb
Prior to starting in the Motivation Science Lab, I completed my PhD at the University of Auckland, studying neuroimaging markers of treatment resistance in people with schizophrenia. I have experience in functional and structural brain network analysis and will be applying these skills in my current project, studying contagion of motivation in adolescents.
Dr. Vanessa Kurdi
I completed my Ph.D. in clinical child and adolescent psychology at the Université de Montréal, Canada. I am now conducting a postdoctoral project with Dr. Murayama, which allows me to pursue my passion about parenting and teaching practices and their effects on children under the Self-Determination Theory framework. My current project examines the effects of parent and teacher empathy on children’s school and socioemotional adaptation through longitudinal database analyses and a teacher intervention.
Dr. Ed Donnellan
Having spent my PhD investigating predictors of children’s early language, I now focus later in development – on predictors of educational attainment, and the potential role of curiosity. Certainly, curiosity motivates my research; I am curious about how to interrogate big data, how we learn – or ever learned – to communicate (gaining insight from human and chimpanzee communication), how we educate, and how we might work any of this out.


Sumeyye Aslan
My essential research interest is generally cognitive abilities and how and whether they can be measured. I aim to work on this topic using a variety of psychometric analyses.
Stef Meliss
The scope of my PhD project is to investigate the effects of motivation and emotion on memory performance and its neural underpinning. I am planning to use movie clips and films as stimuli to enhance our insights in how the brain processes stimuli closer to natural viewing conditions. To answer my research questions, behavioural assessments, neuroimaging and physiological measurements are the methods of choice.
Hannah Stone
My PhD research project is based on curiosity and consumer behaviour. I aim to manipulate curiosity using a range of experimental techniques within behavioural paradigms. I intend to apply this to areas of consumer psychology to investigate how curiosity may influence consumer behaviours.
Cansu Ogulmus
My area of interest lies in the effect of motivation on learning and decision making. Morespecifically I will be investigating how different types of motivation (interest/curiosity vs.external rewards) contribute to long-term and short-term memory performance. I will also belooking into how different types of motivation bias decision making, leading to a diverse setof outcomes. I will be using both neuroimaging techniques (fMRI) and behavioral tasks tostudy my research questions.
Emily Corwin-Renner
Hi, I'm Emily!
Alexander Jung
I am interested in social factors, e.g. interactions with teachers and peers, causing motivated or unmotivated behaviors in pupils. I approach this research primarily by conducting secondary analyses of large-scale datasets. I see the goal of my research in providing information that can be used to create interventions to increase student motivation. I like to also address psychometric research questions.
Wy Ming Lin
I am a PhD student at the Hector Research Institute for Education Science and Psychology at the University of Tübingen. My project will focus on how mental health issues and their implications on motivation and emotion impact our ability to achieve our goals. Some of my interests revolve around self-regulation and self-regulated learning as well as educational psychology.

Research Assistants

Jasmine Raw
I am interested in how our emotions can affect our cognitive abilities, in particular our memory. Over the past year and a half, I have been investigating how emotions influence our memory over time, by conducting a longitudinal study on people’s memory for a large-scale, political event. More recently, I have started working on an fMRI project investigating emotion regulation across age, looking at the positivity effect in older adults.
Dr. Anthony Haffey
My previous research has been in social motivation, and I am interested in researching motivation in learning. I have used EMG, eye-tracking and fMRI and am currently investigating motivation by studying learned helplessness and curiosity.