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Ken Sheldon

Ken Sheldon

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My primary research focus is on participants' personal goals, and the effects of different types of personal goals upon growth, development, and well-being. This research has culminated in a "Self-Concordance Model" of optimal goal-striving (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999, 2001), which integrates goal-striving, need-satisfaction, and well-being change constructs into a single time-sequential model. I also study social dilemmas, and factors which enhance cooperation within such settings; creativity, and factors which promote creative functioning; and "positive psychology."

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Group Processes
  • Health Psychology
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity

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Journal Articles:

  • Sheldon, K. M. (1999). Learning the lessons of tit-for-tat: Even competitors can get the message. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1245-1253.
  • Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1999). Goal striving, need-satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: The Self-Concordance Model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 482-497.
  • Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1998). Not all personal goals are personal: Comparing autonomous and controlled reasons as predictors of effort and attainment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 546-557.
  • Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What's satisfying about satisfying events? Comparing ten candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325-339.
  • Sheldon, K. M., & Houser-Marko, L. (2001). Self-concordance, goal-attainment, and the pursuit of happiness: Can there be an upward spiral? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 152-165.
  • Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (2001). Getting older, getting better? Personal strivings and personality development across the life-course. Developmental Psychology, 37, 491-501.
  • Sheldon, K. M., Kasser, T., Smith, K., & Share, T. (2002). Personal goals and psychological growth: Testing an intervention to enhance goal-attainment and personality integration. Journal of Personality, 70, 5-31.
  • Sheldon, K. M., & McGregor, H. (2000). Extrinsic Value Orientation and the "tragedy of the commons." Journal of Personality, 68, 383-411.
  • Sheldon, K. M., Sheldon, M. S., & Osbaldiston, R. (2000). Prosocial values and group-assortation within an N-person prisoner's dilemma. Human Nature, 11, 387-404.

Other Publications:

  • Bettencourt, B., & Sheldon, K. M. (2001). Social roles as vehicles for psychological need satisfaction within groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 1131-1143.
  • Osbaldiston, R., & Sheldon, K. M. (2002). Social dilemmas and sustainable development: Promoting the motivation to "cooperate with the future." In P. Schmuck & W. Schultz (Eds.), The psychology of sustainability (pp. 37-58). Boston: Kluwer.
  • Sheldon, K. M. (2002). The self-concordance model of healthy goal-striving: When personal goals correctly represent the person. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination theory (pp. 65-86). University of Rochester Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Experimental Methods in Social Psychology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Motivation and Emotion
  • Personality Development
  • Research Methods
  • Social Psychology
  • Theories of Creativity

Ken Sheldon
Department of Psychological Sciences
112 McAlester Hall
University of Missouri, Columbia
Columbia, Missouri 65211
United States of America

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