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About Us

In the Social Perception Action and Motivation Lab [or SPAM Lab], we pioneer the scientific investigation of behavioral science and motivation. This work also aims to address polarization, addressing questions about the source of differences in judgment and behavior among groups of people. With an international team of scholars, writers, artists, and advocates, we uncover previously unknown strategies that increase, sustain, and direct people's efforts to meet their goals. We apply this investigation of motivational strategies to improving the conditions of underserved populations - those experiencing economic disadvantage, students who are the first to attend college, individuals working in fields where they are underrepresented, and people of racial and ethnic minorities facing bias and discrimination. We focus on issues including diversity in leadership, disparities in health, bias in the legal system, and safety in cyber behavior, among others.

Recent Happenings

Research and Discoveries

Social Perception Action & Motivation Lab Overview

Social Perception Action & Motivation Lab Overview

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Featured Publications

System justification motivation as a source of backlash against equality-promoting policies. 

Liaquat, U., Jost, J., & Balcetis, (2023). Social Issues and Policy Review, 17, 1, 131-154.


The relationship between visual confirmation bias, belief consistency, and belief polarization.

Qu-Lee, J., Siedel, B., Harel, D., Granot, G., & Balcetis, E. (2022). Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology. 1-38.

Motivated perception for self-regulation: How visual experience serves and is served by goals.

Cole, S., & Balcetis, E. (2021). B. Gawronski (Ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 64, 129-186.

Out of reach and under control: Distancing as a self-control strategy.

Cole, S., Dominick, J., & Balcetis, E. (2020). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47, 6, 939-952.

How walkable neighborhoods promote physical activity: Policy implications for development and renewal.

Balcetis, E., Duncan, D., & Cole, S. (2020).  Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(2), 173-180.

Growing leaders: Testing learning modules that foster belongingness and growth mindsets about leadership among adolescents.

Balcetis, E., Cox, B., Marson, J., Islam, S., Dgheim, D., Terino, B., Brinkman, C., & Vasquez, J. (2020).  Journal of Educational & Psychological Research, 2 (2), 114-123.

New York University

Department of Psychology

6 Washington Pl, New York, NY 10003, USA

(212) 998-3998

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