Associate Professor of Psychology
Masicampo’s research focuses on willpower, goal setting, and the psychology behind resisting temptation.
E. J. Masicampo’s research focuses on the psychology behind resisting temptation, making difficult decisions, and reaching goals. From keeping New Year’s resolutions to making moral judgments, Masicampo explores “effortful mental processes” and how they work. His research can be applied to everything from professional development to dieting to establishing a fitness routine to developing better… Read More »
E. J. Masicampo’s research focuses on the psychology behind resisting temptation, making difficult decisions, and reaching goals. From keeping New Year’s resolutions to making moral judgments, Masicampo explores “effortful mental processes” and how they work. His research can be applied to everything from professional development to dieting to establishing a fitness routine to developing better study habits. Based on his research, he can explain how willpower works and what strengthens or weakens it. He studies how making plans can help achieve goals and can describe the essential elements of a successful plan.
Masicampo has been interviewed by several media outlets, including The Economist, Forbes, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. His studies have been published in leading academic journals, including Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Review.
Masicampo’s work applies to setting and reaching academic and personal goals. It also has implications for the workplace and how to use mental energy more efficiently to complete tasks. His experiments address such questions as: How do one’s surroundings influence one’s ability to diet or meet other goals? What determines the contents of one’s thoughts? How does energy from food influence one’s ability to think and make decisions? How does observing others’ behaviors affect one’s ability to exert self-control? How do perceptions of free will and responsibility affect one’s willingness to engage in mentally effortful tasks?
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Masicampo found that committing to a specific plan to accomplish a goal not only makes it more likely to be done, but also gets it off your mind so you can think about other things. He can also address such topics as self-control, decision fatigue, how people make moral judgments and the effects of keeping secrets.
September 3, 2015
An interesting study conducted by E.J. Masicampo with Florida State University has demonstrated the importance of flexibility in achieving goals, and adapting to changing circumstances without being permanently bent out of shape. What he found was that while committing to a specific plan for a goal can improve the chances of success, it may also cause you to be less flexible and not see alternative means to better meet the goal.
The Christian Science Monitor
August 30, 2015
Project workers tried to minimize such differences, but matching an original study could be tricky. E.J. Masicampo of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a co-author of the new study, said one of his own experiments was not confirmed by the project.
NY Daily News
August 28, 2015
One study author who participated in the project as both a reviewer and reviewee was E.J. Masicampo, assistant professor at Wake Forest College in North Carolina.
She was part of a team that was able to replicate a study that found people who are faced with a confrontational task, like having to play a violent video game, prefer to listen to angry music and think about negative experiences beforehand.
But when outside researchers tried to replicate Masicampo’s own study — which hypothesized that a sugary drink can help college students do better at making a complicated decision — they were not successful.
Areas of Expertise
- Goal Setting
- Plan Making
- Social Psychology
Tufts University: Post Doctoral Research, Psychology
Florida State University: Ph.D., Psychology
Florida State University: M.S., Psychology
University of California, Santa Barbara: B.A., PsychologyContact
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