Background Image

Dr. Lisa Legault

In this Section

Dr. Lisa Legault
Assistant Professor
Psychology Department
161 Science Center
PO Box 5825
Potsdam, NY 13699-5825

Phone: 315-268-2361 
Fax: 315-268-7118 
E-mail: llegault@clarkson.edu

Education
Ph.D., University of Ottawa, Canada, 2009

Courses Taught
Introduction to Psychology, Human Motivation, Advanced Topics in Social Psychology

Research Interests
My research integrates motivational science, prejudice and intergroup relations, and social cognitive neuroscience. In general, I am interested in how the source of motivation underlying beliefs, attitudes, and behavior (i.e., is motivation internal/autonomous or externally pressured/controlled?) influences the successful self-regulation of those beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.   

In one line of research, I explore the motivational factors that promote positive intergroup perceptions and interactions. This body of work suggests that when the environment is controlling and prescriptive regarding prejudice reduction and diversity practices, prejudice ironically rises. On the other hand, social contexts that promote personal choice and autonomous motivation toward diversity appreciation tend to be effective in improving intergroup attitudes. I’m also interested in the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these effects. In one set of studies, for example, I assess whether promoting controlling vs. personal motivation to be nonprejudiced influences self-control over implicitly prejudiced responses, as indexed by neuroaffective signals of racial bias.  

In a related line of work, I investigate how motivational factors influence not only outgroup perception, but ingroup perception and social identity. Some of my recent work has shown that individual differences in motivational orientation shape the manner in which people identify with their social groups (e.g, being male, being black, being German). I also assess the role of motivational orientation in the capacity to integrate conflicting aspects of one’s social identity, and its role in improving intergroup attitudes and reducing prejudice and discrimination.   

In a third, more general line of research, I take a closer look at the basic mechanisms underlying the link between motivation and self-control. My work suggests that personal autonomy (as opposed to social coercion) actually improves executive control processes, such as response inhibition and error monitoring. Moreover, using a neuroscientific approach, I demonstrate that these effects are mediated by increased activity of the anterior cinglulate cortex – a neural structure that regulates bodily states of arousal in order to execute effective control and self-regulation. 

Grants and Awards
New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), Clean Energy and Smart Housing: Motivational Intervention for Improved Energy Efficiency in University Living, $120,000.00 (co-PI), 2013 - 2015 

Defence Research and Development Canada, Social Identity Management and Intergroup Perception: Toward a Dynamic Model of Social Identity Theory, $70,000.00 (Principal Investigator), 2012 - 2013 

Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Visiting Scientist Fellowship, $102,000.00, 2011-2012

 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship, $83,000.00, 2009 - 2011

 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Interpersonal Influences on the Self-Regulation of Race Bias: How Our Social Environment Can Help Us Automatize Motivation to be Nonprejudiced, $5,000.00 (Principal Investigator), 2009 - 2011.

 Governor General's Gold Medal, best doctoral thesis and highest overall standing, University of Ottawa, 2009 

Publications (Last 5 years)

Tabit, M.B., Legault, L., Ma, W., Wan, K.P. (in press). In Search of Best Practices for Multicultural Education: Empirical evidence from the Forum BEVI Project. In C.N. Shealy (Ed.), Making Sense of Beliefs and Values. New York: Springer. 

Inzlicht, M., Legault, L., & Teper, R. (2014). Exploring the mechanisms of self-control improvement. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 302-307. 

Legault, L. & Amiot, C. (2014). The role of autonomy in intergroup processes: Integrating Self-Determination Theory and intergroup approaches. In N. Weinstein (Ed.), Integrating Human Motivation and Interpersonal Relationships: Theory, Research and Applications. New York: Springer, pp. 159-190. 

Inzlicht, M. & Legault, L. (2014). No pain, no gain: How distress underlies effective self-control (and unites diverse social psychological phenomena). In J. Forgas & E. Harmon-Jones (Eds.), The Control Within: Motivation and its Regulation. New York: Psychology Press. 

Legault, L. & Inzlicht, M. (2013). Self-determination, self-regulation and the brain: Autonomy improves performance by enhancing neuroaffective responsiveness to self-regulation failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 123-138.

 Legault, L., Al-Khindi, & Inzlicht, M. (2012). Preserving integrity in the face of performance threat: Self-affirmation enhances neurophysiological responsiveness to errors. Psychological Science, 23, 1455-1460. 

Legault, L., & Green-Demers, I. (2012). The protective role of self-determined prejudice regulation in the relationship between intergroup threat and prejudice. Motivation and Emotion, 36(2), 143-158. 

Inzlicht, M., Gutsell, J.N, & Legault, L. (2012). Mimicry reduces racial prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 361–365. 

Legault, L., Gutsell, J.N., & Inzlicht, M. (2011). Ironic effects of anti-prejudice messages: How motivational interventions can reduce (but also increase) prejudice. Psychological Science, 22 (12), 1472 – 1477. 

Inzlicht, M., Tullett, A.M., Legault, L., & Kang, S. K (2011). Lingering effects: Stereotype threat hurts more than you think. Social Issues and Policy Review, 5(1), 231-259. 

Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Eadie, A.L. (2009). When internalization leads to automatization: The role of self-determination in automatic stereotype suppression and implicit prejudice regulation. Motivation and Emotion, 33(1), 10-24.

 Green-Demers, I., Legault, L., Pelletier, D., & Pelletier, L. G. (2008). Factorial invariance of the Academic Amotivation Inventory across gender and grade in a sample of Canadian high school students. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 68(5), 862-880. 

Majstorovic, N., Legault, L., & Green-Demers, I. (2008). Measuring selfhood according to self-determination theory: Construction and validation of the Ego Functioning Questionnaire (EFQ). Psihologija, 41(2), 213-235. 

Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Pelletier, L.G. (2008). Pourquoi est-ce que les élèves du secondaire manquent de motivation en classe? Vers une meilleure compréhension de la démotivation scolaire et de ses antécédents sociaux. (Why do high school students lack motivation? Understanding the social antecedents of academic disengagement). Le bulletin de Liaison de l'Association Québécoise des Psychologues Scolaires (Journal of the Association of Quebec Psychologists), 20 (2), 77-80. 

Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., Grant, P., & Chung, J. (2007). On the self-regulation of implicit and explicit prejudice: A Self-Determination Theory perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(5), 732-749.

Presentations at Scientific Meetings (Last 5 years)

Legault, L. (2014, June). New directions in autonomy and self-control: The mediating effect of error receptivity. In S. Rizvi (Chair), New Approaches in Research on Self-Determination Theory, 74th Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention, Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Sherman, A. K., Bayer, M., Schay, A., Legault, L., Bird, S., & Powers, S. (2014, June). Smart Housing Project: Motivating resource conservation through real-time feedback & education. Poster presented at NYSERDA & the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ‘Applying Behavioral Strategies to Energy Decisions and Behaviors’ Workshop. White Plains, NY. 

Legault, L. (2014, May). Autonomous motivation enhances self-regulation by promoting sensitivity and receptivity to self-control conflict. In M. Roskes (Chair), Goal engagement and vitality: Implicit, neural, and contextual influences, 7th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation, San Francisco, CA.           

Sherman, A. K., Bayer, M., Legault, L., Bird, S., & Powers, S. (2014, April). Smart Housing Project: Motivating resources conservation through infrastructure, real-time feedback, and education. Poster presented at the Advanced Energy Conference 2014, Albany, NY. 

Sherman, A. K., Swanson, C., Legault, L., Bird, S., & Powers, S. (2013, October). Smart Housing Project: Conserving Resources through Infrastructure, Real-time Feedback, and Motivation. Poster presented at the SyracuseCoE 13th Annual Symposium: Urban Reinvention and Resilience. Syracuse, NY.    

Legault, L. (2013, June). No Pain, No Gain: Neurophysiological evidence that autonomy boosts performance by increasing error-related distress. New Directions in Self-Determination Theory Plenary Address, 5th International Self-Determination Theory Conference, Rochester, NY. 

Legault, L., Weinstein, N., & Inzlicht, M. (2013, January). Autonomy promotes integration of the collective self. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA. 

Inzlicht, M., & Legault, L. (2013, January). No pain, no gain: How distress underlies effective self-control (and unites diverse social-psychological phenomena). Talk presented at the 14th Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA. 

Legault, L., Inzlicht, M., & Gutsell, J.N. (2012, January). Ironic effects of anti-prejudice messages: How motivational interventions can reduce (but also increase) prejudice. In Elliot, A., & Berry-Mendes, W. (Chairs), Data Blitz Symposium, 13th Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.  

Legault, L. (2012, January). Integrating positive and negative ethnic identity into the self: Motivational antecedents and intergroup consequences. Paper presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting (Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, GPIR), San Diego, CA.   

 Legault, L., & Inzlicht, M. (2011, June). Paradoxical effects of anti-prejudice cues: How motivational priming exacerbates prejudice. Paper presented at the 72nd Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Ontario.       

 Legault, L., Green-Demers, I. & Inzlicht, M. (2010, May). The Automatization of autonomy: Social and neurocognitive mechanisms. In Hodgins, H. (Chair) Symposium on Unconscious Processes in Motivation, 4th International Self-Determination Theory Conference, Gent, Belgium.          

 Legault, L. (2010, January). Being self-determined to regulate prejudice buffers the impact of intergroup threat. Paper presented at the 11th Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada.          

 Legault, L., & Weinstein, N. (2009, May, Co-Chairs). Implicit and explicit processes in motivation: Applications in interpersonal contexts. Symposium presented at the Society for the Study of Motivation, San Francisco, CA.

 Legault, L. (2009, May). Self-determined motivation to be nonprejudiced and the implicit control of racial bias.  In Legault, L., & Weinstein, N. (Chairs) Symposium on Implicit and Explicit Processes in Motivation: Applications in Interpersonal Contexts, Society for the Study of Motivation, San Francisco, CA.          

 Legault, L., Eadie, A., & Green-Demers, I. (2007, June). Impact of cognitive depletion on prejudice regulation: The moderating role of self-determined motivation to be nonprejudiced. Paper presented at the 68th Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention, Ottawa, Ontario.                      

 Gadbois, H., Legault., L & Green-Demers, I. (2007, June). Assessing inclination towards guilt and shame: Translation and validation of the Test of Self-Conscious Affect for Adolescents (TOSCA-A) Paper presented at the 68th Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention, Ottawa, Ontario.          

 Legault, L., & Green-Demers, I. (2007, May). On the self-regulation of implicit and explicit prejudice: A Self-Determination Theory perspective. Paper presented at the 3rd International Self-Determination Theory Conference, Toronto, Ontario.

 Green-Demers, I. Koestner, R., Legault, L., Spencer, A., Pelletier, D., & Paiement, T.  (2007, May). Motivational and emotional underpinnings of ironic effects: The influence of personal goals and meta-mood processes on mental mood control. Paper presented at the 3rd International Self-Determination Theory Conference, Ottawa, Ontario.

 Undergraduate Student Presentations (Last 2 years)

 Ray, K., & Legault, L. (July, 2014). Alternative Pathways to Wellbeing: Differentiating Active vs. Passive Fulfillment of the Need for Autonomy. Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Helfgott, A., & Legault, L. (July, 2014). Role of Psychopathy in Self-Control. Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Davis, C., & Legault, L. (April, 2014). Impact of Mindfulness on Self-Control.  Presented at McNair Research Conference, Buffalo, NY.

 Pelosi, M., & Legault, L. (April, 2014). Distinguishing between Active vs. Passive Need Fulfillment. Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Mitchell, J., & Legault, L. (March, 2014). Integrating Ethnic Identity into the Self. Annual Statewide Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

 Davis, C., & Legault, L. (March, 2014). Impact of Emotional Acceptance on Goal Regulation and Self-Control. Annual Statewide Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

 Davis, C., & Legault, L. (August, 2013). Impact of Emotional Acceptance on Goal Regulation and Self-Control. Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Mitchell, J., & Legault, L. (August, 2013). Intergroup Effects of Ethnic Identity Integration.   Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Pyke, K., & Legault, L. (August, 2013). The Integration of Positive and Negative Group Identity: Effects on Group Processes.  Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

 Knapp, S., & Legault, L. (April, 2013). The Role of Motivation and Mindfulness in Racial Bias. Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Experience, Clarkson University.

Dr. Lisa Legault