Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Thane S. Pittman

Thane S. Pittman

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I am interested in human motivation. One area of research concerns our desire to understand and control our surroundings, and how experiences with lack of control affect the way we think and act in subsequent situations. A second area of interest concerns the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations toward activities. Generally, how does doing something (e.g., playing a game, interacting with another person) as an end in itself versus doing that same thing as a means to an end affect our performance on that activity and our interest in engaging with the activity in the future? Other motivational interests include the effects of the emotions and emotional expressions of regret and remorse as they affect the likelihood of future action and procrastination (inaction inertia), and reactions to moral transgressions (punishment desires, and the phenomenon of moral luck).

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Causal Attribution
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Motivation, Goal Setting

Research Group or Laboratory:


Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • Jones, E. E., & Pittman, T. S. (1982). Toward a general theory of strategic self-presentation. In J. Suls (Ed.), Psychological perspectives on the self (Vol 1, pp. 231-262). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.
  • Pittman, T. S. (1998). Motivation. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindsay (Eds.), Handbook of Social Psychology (4th ed., pp. 549-590). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  • Pittman, T. S., & Heller, J. F. (1987). Social motivation. In M. Rosenzweig & L. Porter (Eds.), Annual Review of Psychology (Vol. 38, pp. 461-489). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews, Inc.
  • Pittman, T. S., & Zeigler, K. R. (2007). Basic human needs. In A. Kruglanski & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Social Psychology: Handbook of basic principles, 2nd ed. New York: Guilford.

Thane S. Pittman
Department of Psychology
Mayflower Hill
Colby College
Waterville, Maine 04901
United States

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