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Regular version of the site

'I Try to Say Surprising Things, to Keep Students on Their Toes'

From June 3 – 18, 2014, you can hear Kennon M. Sheldon reading a series of lectures on the Positive Psychology of Motivation at the HSE. The lectures are open to all students and staff.

Kennon M. Sheldon is Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri (USA), a leading expert in psychology of motivation and goals and one of the 20 most quoted psychologists in the USA. He is Academic Supervisor of the HSE’s new Laboratory of the Positive Psychology of Motivation and Personality. In an interview for the HSE English Language news service, News Editor Anna Chernyakhovskaya asked Professor Sheldon how his cooperation with the HSE began.

— Dmitri Leontiev (Professor of Positive Psychology and Life Quality Research Team: Laboratory Head and Member of the HSE Academic Council) emailed me around Christmas time and suggested the project. I thought it sounded interesting and agreed to be the senior international scientist in the project, should it be funded. I had spoken to Dmitri a couple of times before, at international conferences concerning Self-determination theory, the theory upon which I base much of my work. I knew he had sympathy for the theory, but also ideas for improving it; this intrigued me.

— What do you find interesting as a lecturer and researcher working in Moscow?

—So far (after 1 week), I like the fact that the research group is well able to understand me, and is very interested and responsive to the ideas I am sharing. They treat me very respectfully, and already know most of the background information necessary to follow my presentations.

— What are your first impressions?

— Very good so far. I am looking forward to next week, when we begin to discuss our project more concretely.

— How do you see the further development of your cooperation with the HSE?

 — I do not know where it will go, which is one of the interesting things! What I would like to do is understand Dmitri's theoretical perspective better, and then help his research group to design studies to test that theory and compare it to other theories, studies that are ultimately publishable in high quality western journals.  

— What's your teaching method? How do you inspire and encourage students?

— I try to explain concepts using spontaneous examples that occur to me only in the moment of speaking. I also try to say surprising things, to keep students on their toes!

— How do you like being in Moscow? What is nice and what is difficult?

— My wife Melanie who is an assistant teaching professor in psychology at Missouri, the same department as me (interested in evolutionary, not motivational, psychology) and I are learning our way around. So far, Moscow is very interesting to us, a European city that is not quite European. We also find it to be a little dirty and run-down, but many big cities around the world have this characteristic. 

See also:

Defending Personal Boundaries: How Birth Order Affects Children’s Psychological Sovereignty

HSE psychologists have studied how the presence or absence of siblings, as well as birth order, affect children’s ability to maintainpersonal boundaries. The results showed that only children and second-born children have the strongest sense of personal boundaries, while first-born children have the least. However, as children become adults, their ability to balance between their own needs and those of others becomes determined more by gender.

'Going to HSE Seemed Like a Great Way to Pursue My Interests’

September 4, 2019 was a day of firsts for the School of Psychology and the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making. Zachary Yaple, who was born in the United States and grew up in England, defended his dissertation, 'Neurophysiological Correlates of Risky Decision-Making'. His defense marked the first PhD to be prepared at the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making and the first PhD to be awarded to an international student by the Doctoral School of Psychology.

The Brain Processes Words Placed on the Right Side of a Screen More Quickly

When reading words on a screen, the human brain comprehends words placed on the right side of the screen faster. The total amount of presented information on the screen also affects the speed and accuracy of the brain’s ability to process words. These are the findings of HSE researchers Elena Gorbunova and Maria Falikman presented in an article that was published in the journal, Advances in Cognitive Psychology.

The Campaign Against Bullying

Educators do not always deal with student aggression in the most effective manner. Sometimes teachers resort to severe and unsystematic methods that only make the bullying worse. According to researchers of the HSE Laboratory for Prevention of Asocial Behavior, the problem requires a comprehensive approach: aggression prevention programmes need to be incorporated into educational policy, and, in turn, schools need to foster supportive psychological climate and trust between teachers and students.

Work That Kills: The Danger of Nonstandard Working Schedules

More than 64% of employed Russians work evenings, nights or weekends, and this is one of the highest figures among European countries. Andrei Shevchuk and Anna Krasilnikova were the first to study the extent of nonstandard working hours in Russia and its impact on work-life balance.

HSE Scholars Propose New Method for Measuring Individual Well-being

Their initial tests were carried out with football fans, by measuring their emotional state. It turned out that, on average, uncertainty about a match result can increase the probability of unhappiness by 13.6%. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Emotions from Touch: What Textures Bring Happiness, and What Cause Anger

Touching different types of surfaces may incur certain emotions. This was the conclusion made by psychologists in a recent empirical study. Previously, emotional perception was generally studied in relation to visual and audial modalities.

What Do Digital Traces Have to Offer for the Study of Psychological Wellbeing?

The round table on ‘Psychological Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ brought together a range of scholars and one industry professional to talk about how a user’s digital footprint—or ‘digital traces’—can be used to discern a person’s psychological state, predict their behavior, and, potentially, even improve their psychological wellbeing.

The Anxiety of Exposure: Why We Suffer from Imposter Syndrome

Researchers from the HSE Perm, in collaboration with an American colleague, confirmed the theory that impostor syndrome fully mediates the link between perfectionism and psychological distress

Abusive Supervisors: The First Study in Russia to Examine Abusive Supervision

Abusive supervisors who undermine and bully employees cost U.S. corporations an estimated $24 billion annually. Evgenia Balabanova, Maria Borovik and Veronika Deminskaya are the first researchers to study the problem in Russia.