Originally from Casper, Wyoming, USA, Mike received a BA in psychology and philosophy from Knox College in Illinois, an MA in social and personality psychology from York University in Toronto Canada, and a PhD in social and personality psychology from the University of Missouri. He also completed a graduate minor in psychological methods and statistics at Missouri. Throughout these studies, his primary interests were in the fields of personality and motivation.
His dissertation work was aimed at combining self-determination theory with basic research in personality, particularly with regard to how motivational aspects of personality (like values) impact how we experience daily situations and need fulfillment.
He will be contributing to the RE group's research by working toward a scientific theory of life improvement. With that aim in mind, one large project he'll be supporting includes testing various strategies to encourage people to select beneficial values, i.e., ones that tend to be linked to personal and social well-being, and then designing digital interventions that apply these strategies.
In connection to this project, Mike and the other RE group members will also be examining ways to facilitate the internalization of beneficial values beyond the initial value selection or reorientation that people might engage in during an intervention.
Additionally, a related project will be to develop digital interventions that assist people in effectively connecting their short-term goals with long-term values in order to help people clarify the pathways that will best lead them to live their cherished values.
Mike is also interested in keeping up with developments in many scientific fields beyond psychology, listening to music/attending live shows, learning to cook new dishes, traveling, and spending time with his family.
He really appreciated cycling when he lived in Salzburg, but wasn't able to continue this hobby after the last move to the US. He is looking forward to cycling more again around Tübingen once he arrives.
"I'm honored to join the MPI and eager to get started with the important work and wonderful people at REG!" - Mike
The same goes for us, Mike! We're so happy to have you enrich our team!