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Regulation, Action, and
Motivated Perception Lab

ABOUT THE LAB

Welcome to the Regulation, Action, and Motivated Perception (RAMP) Lab in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick (PI: Dr. Shana Cole)

The successful attainment of goals is a multi-determined process. At several stages along the road to goal achievement, people face self-regulatory challenges that threaten to hinder progress. How do people overcome obstacles and difficulties in order to successfully meet the goals they set? How do they resist temptations, regulate emotions, ignore distractions, and disengage from unworthy pursuits?

We explore the social cognitive and perceptual processes that predict and promote effective goal pursuit. Using a multi-method approach that incorporates perceptual, behavioral, and psychophysiological methods, we test the conscious and nonconscious processes that assist people in mitigating threats, attaining rewards, and resisting temptations. Our exploration cuts across multiple contemporary social issues, testing self-regulatory processes that are implicated in health and fitness, romantic relationships, political polarization, pro-environmental behaviors, gender equality, and intergroup interactions. Across these various pursuits, we seek to both better understand the self-regulatory strategies that people spontaneously employ as well as to develop interventions that can assist in combating some of society's most complex self-regulatory problems. 

The RAMP Lab is firmly committed to fostering a safe and inclusive space for members of minority groups. We value the diverse perspectives of all individuals, across race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, disability, religion, and national origin. We actively seek to support individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in psychology and the sciences. Students of color, women, first generation students, and members of other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Time for Dessert
Study Group
Pride Holding Hands
  • Spring 2024
    1/22/24: A round of applause for Hayley for winning the competitive and prestigious Outstanding Research Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology for her work on gender differences in response to STEM feedback! 1/19/24: Congratulations to ALL of our research assistants with independent research projects, Paula, Gabe, Maddie, and Xinyue, who all received an Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellowship to fund their projects!
  • Fall 2023
    12/11/23: Big shout out to our honors student, Paula Sholander, for winning the competitive Phillip’s Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis Proposal! Congratulations, Paula! You earned it! 12/1/23: Kudos to Kyle and Hayley for passing their qualitative exams! Another milestone down! 11/10/23: Congratulations, Hayley, on a successful 4th year talk on "Examining the Leaky Pipeline: Do women and men differ in their attributions for success and failure in STEM contexts?"! 8/1/23: Check out the RAMP Lab's new paper! Hayley, Shana, and their collaborator Dr. Brittany Shoots-Reinhard had their paper accepted to the Social and Personal Psychology Compass. Find the special issue on the social psychology of the COVID-19 pandemic and look for "Goal disruption during COVID19: Reimagining goals during a global pandemic".
  • Spring 2023
    7/26/23: Come see our extraordinary RISE student, Wyatt Read, this Wednesday, August 2nd in Livingston Student Center for the RISE 2023 Symposium! Wyatt will be presenting a poster on his work this summer: Perceptions of success, stress, and well-being based on balance and gender. 5/16/23: Bravo to Hayley and Maggie for receiving Social Area Awards this year! Hayley won the Social Area Award for Excellence in DEI for her research STEM gender-equity and for all of her inclusivity-related service efforts. Maggie won the Social Area Award for Excellence in Teaching as a result of her teaching efforts and involvement with the TA Project. 5/12/23: We celebrate Dr. Melanie Maimon who landed an amazing tenure-track position at Bryant University. Melanie, you've been such an asset to the RAMP lab, and you will be missed. We could not be more proud of your accomplishment! AND congratulations to you and your partner on your engagement! 5/1/23: Congratulations to all of our honors students for each earning the competitive Henry Rutgers Scholar Award!!! Great work to Amaya, Allie, and Sneha! We know you'll all be successful in your future endeavors. Allison Eisenberg will be an asset to Fordam University's Clinical Research Methods Master's program, and Amaya Chawla will continue to be an invaluable resource to Rutgers University as a student in the Social Work Master's program. Congrats, too, to Noor Nasir, a dedicated RA who will be fulfilling her dream of going to UPenn for a Master's in Social Work! We're so proud of you all! 5/1/23: We welcome Wyatt Read to our lab this summer for his RISE Research opportunity! 4/28/23: Bravo, Kyle, for a successful delivery of your 4th year talk at the Social Area Colloquium! 4/28/23: Congrats to our honors undergraduate students for presenting their theses at the 19th Annual Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium-- well done! 4/21/23: BIG NEWS FOR THE RAMP LAB!!! Shana is the worthy recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant, which will fund a project entitled, "Selective Visual Attention and Motivated Misperceptions in Social Information Processing". This is a major accomplishment and the culmination of years of hard work. Be on the lookout for more news about this exciting work! 4/14/23: Kudos to Maggie for a strong 4th year talk at the Social Area Colloquium today! 4/10/23: Congratulations to all of our amazing honors students-- Amaya Chawla, Allison Eisenberg, and Sneha Kuman-- for presenting their undergraduate honors theses in Psychology projects! 4/5/23: Heartiest congratulations to Shana for earning the School of Graduate Studies Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award!!! Speaking from everyone in our lab community, we can't think of anyone else more deserving of this award. Come support Shana's success at the upcoming SGS Awards Ceremony to be held Thursday, May 11th! 3/10/23: Congratulations, Hayley, for being awarded SGS's Research and Travel Award! 3/8/23: Shout out to Kyle for securing a Consumer Insights Internship at State Farm this summer! 3/4/23: Congratulations to Kyle, Maggie, & Hayley for all delivering successful poster presentations at the Eastern Psychological Association's 2023 Annual Conference in Boston! Kyle gave a talk on the "Exploring relationship protection strategies within social comparison contexts"; Maggie spoke on "Comparative coping: Affective and behavioral consequences of social comparisons during the COVID-19 pandemic"; and Hayley presented "The effects of self-control failure rationalization on subjective perceptions of goal-inconsistent behavior". 2/23-2/5/23: Shout out to Kyle, Maggie, Hayley, and (former honors student) Gabbie for presenting their posters at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology 2023 Annual Conference! 2/23/23: Kudos to Shana for her talk as well as Hayley and Maggie for their data-blitzes at the Motivation Science Preconference for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology 2023 Annual Conference! Shana gave a talk on the "Regulatory focus (of attention): Promotion-focus orientation directs visual attention toward goal-promoting objects"; Hayley spoke on "The effects of self-control failure rationalization on subjective perceptions of goal-inconsistent behavior"; and Maggie presented "'It’s all relative': Comparing indulgent choices shifts perception, affect, and motivation in self-control failures." 2/20/23: Congratulations to Maggie Albright-Pierce AND Hayley Svensson for both winning SPSP Graduate Student Poster Awards! Check out the award-winning posters in our gallery!
  • Fall 2022
    12/23/22: Congratulations to Amaya and Sneha, two of our honors thesis students, who were both awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships from the Aresty Research Center for their individual honor's thesis projects! 12/19/22: Congratulations, Maggie, for being awarded SGS's Research and Travel Award! 12/7/22: We have another master in the house! Congratulations, Maggie, for a successful defense of "Exploring difference-making in threatening social comparisons". Another master's degree under your belt! 11/29/22: Hayley successfully defended her master's thesis: "Examining the leaky pipeline: Do women and men differ in their attributions for success and failure in STEM contexts?". Congratulations on earning your master's degree, Hayley! 11/29/22: See this month's School of Graduate Studies student spotlight for a feature story on Maggie's POD grant! 11/28/22: Congratulations to Maggie for being awarded SPSP's Graduate Student Travel Award! 11/22/22: Ally, one of our talented honors thesis students, was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Aresty Research Center for her honor's thesis project. Bravo, Ally! 10/12/22: Kyle earned his (second) master's degree! Congratulations on a strong defense of your master's thesis : "Exploring Relationship Protection Strategies Within Social Comparison Contexts"! 7/18/22: Hats off to Kyle and his partner, Irene, who got engaged today! Heartfelt congratulations to you both!
  • Spring 2022
    6/8/22: Congratulations to Hayley for winning the Social Area Award for Service Excellence! 5/6/22: We're thrilled to announce that both of RAMP Lab's undergraduate Psychology honors students, Gabriela Rivera and Ashima Tiwari, have been awarded 2022 Henry Rutgers Scholar Awards! Congratulations, Gabby! Congratulations, Ashima! 4/29/22: See Umayma and Gabby's Aresty poster presentations here or live this Friday from 10AM - 1:30PM in the Alexander Library! 4/11/22: Congratulations to Ashima Tiwari and Gabriela Rivera for presenting their undergraduate honors theses in Psychology projects AND for officially earning the distinction of "Honors Research Scholar in Psychology"! 4/7/22: Congratulations to undergraduate honors thesis student, Umayma Saifuddin, for successfully defending her interdisciplinary honors thesis entitled "Examining the Leaky Pipeline: Gendered Responses to Success and Failure in STEM"! 4/1/22: Maggie presented a poster at the annual convention for the Society of Affective Science (SAS) on "The Role of Social Comparisons in Emotion Regulation and Stress Reduction". 3/4/22: Congrats to Gabby Rivera for presenting her Cooper Fellowship project entitled "Coping in times of crisis: Downward social comparisons lead to prosocial support" at the annual Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference! 2/21/22: Maggie and Hayley were both awarded a Social Area Travel Award! Congratulations! 2/19/22: Kyle presented a poster at SPSP entitled: "Protecting Against Relationship Threat: Romantic Partner Bolstering". 2/19/22: Hayley presented a poster at SPSP entitled: "The Effects of Self-Control Failure Rationalization on Subjective Perceptions of Goal-Inconsistent Behavior". 2/19/22: Shana gave a talk on her work "Out of Reach and Under Control: Distancing as a Protective Self-Control Strategy" at SPSP's "Self Control Beyond Inhibition" Symposium. 2/18/22: Maggie presented a poster at the annual conference for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) entitled: "Feeling Lucky? The role of downward comparisons in boosting mood and decreasing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic". 1/26/22: Congratulations to Gabriela Rivera for being awarded an EPA Regional Travel Grant for the 2022 EPA Annual Meeting! 1/15/22: Warmest wishes from our lab to Hayley Svensson on her WEDDING DAY! Congratulations to Hayley and Logan as they embark on this new chapter of their lives!
  • Fall 2021
    12/28/21: Honors student Gabriela Rivera's research abstract was accepted as a poster presentation for the 2022 Eastern Psychological Association's Annual Conference! 12/15/21: Hayley successfully defended her Master's thesis proposal on "Using construal level theory to increase women's persistence in STEM fields". 11/12/21: Hayley presented a poster at Harvard University's Annual Trends in the Psychology Summit (TiPS) entitled: "COVID-19 and goal scripts: Reimagining goals during a global pandemic".
  • Spring 2021
    06/01/21: Congratulations to Kyle AND Maggie for earning the Social Area Award for Exceptional Service! 06/01/21: Congratulations to Maggie for being awarded the Social Area Award for Exceptional Teaching! 06/01/21: Congratulations to Melanie Maimon for being awarded the Social Area Award for Excellence in DEI! 05/25/21: Maggie presented a poster at APS: "Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of mindfulness and comparative gratitude in decreasing stress and improving well-being" 05/15/21: Congratulations to our honors student, Brian Smolinsky, for successfully completing his honors thesis: "Romantic Masculinity Threat Across Mixed-Sex Couples" 05/05/21: Congratulations to Joshua Snyder for graduating and gaining acceptance to the Clinical PsyD program at the University of Hartford! 04/25/21: Round of applause to Gabriela Rivera and Olivia Worthington for earning Cooper Fellowships for their undergraduate summer research! 04/23/21: Congratulations to Kyle and Maggie for successfully completing their second year social colloquium talks! 04/17/21: We welcome Maya Rogers to our lab this summer for her RISE Research opportunity!
  • Fall 2020
    9/8/20: Check out our lab's new paper on distancing as a self-control strategy, out in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin this month! 9/1/20: This Fall we welcome a new graduate student, Hayley Svensson, to the lab! Welcome, Hayley!
  • Spring 2020
    06/10/20: Congratulations to Dr. Janna Dominick who--despite a global pandemic and an extraordinarily tough job market--landed an amazing position as a Senior UX Researcher at Vanguard!! Janna, you'll leave a hole in this lab that could never be filled, but we couldn't be more proud of all you've accomplished. Can't wait to watch your next journey unfold! 05/20/20: Several of our undergraduate alumni have accepted graduate school positions! Devin Barzallo will be attending medical school at Case Western in the Fall, and Brooke Schleyer will begin her Clinical Psychology PhD at Temple University. Best of luck to Devin and Brooke as they start their next chapters! 05/15/20: Our amazing honors student, Devin Barzallo, received the Charles Flaherty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research from the Psychology Department and was awarded a Henry Rutgers Scholar Award from the Rutgers School of Arts & Sciences. Congratulations, Devin! You're a rockstar! 04/25/20: Congratulations to Alice Cooper and Ariana Morgan for being awarded Cooper Fellowships for their research this upcoming summer! 03/25/20: RAMP Lab has a new doctor in the house!! Janna defended her dissertation (virtually) today! Congratulations, Dr. Dominick--we could not be more proud of you! And congratulations to Dr. Analia Albuja and Dr. Kim Chaney (RAMP Lab affiliates) who also defended their dissertations this month! 02/15/20: Check out our lab's new paper on boosting healthy-eater identity for easier goal pursuit, out in Motivation and Emotion this month!
  • Fall 2019
    09/26/19: Check out the lab's new paper on representations of transgender individuals, out in SPPS this month! 09/03/19: This Fall we will welcome two new graduate students to our lab: Kyle Brennan and Maggie Albright-Pierce. Looking forward to starting our adventure together!
  • Spring 2019
    04/23/19: Janna presented a talk at the annual Society for the Study of Motivation Conference in Washington D.C., 'Goals as identities: Boosting healthy-eater identity for easier goal pursuit.' 03/20/19: Congratulations to Kristina for winning the 2019 Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award given by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association). Kristina will be presented with a plaque at the STP's 18th Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) October 17 -19, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. Go, Kristina! 03/08/19: HUGE congratulations to Kristina Howansky (or should we say, DOCTOR Kristina Howansky)! Kristina successfully defended her dissertation and has officially earned her PhD! We are so proud of you, Dr. Kristina! 03/01/19: Congratulations to Josephine Kim for presenting a poster at the 2019 Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) conference: 'Making excuses: Rationalizing self-control failures impacts feelings about the indulgence and subsequent motivation.' 02/08/19: Janna presented a poster at SPSP: 'Goals as identities: Boosting healthy-eater identity for easier goal pursuit.' 02/07/19: Janna presented a data-blitz at the Motivation Science pre-conference at SPSP: 'When doing wrong feels right: The impact of joint self-control failures on post-indulgence emotions and motivation.'
  • Fall 2018
    12/28/18: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for accepting a position as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. We couldn't be more proud of you!! 12/6/18: How does engaging in goal-consistent or -inconsistent behavior affect the way people see themselves? Check out our lab's new paper in Motivation Science. 11/24/18: Introducing the newest member of the RAMP Lab family! Josie Jane Cole was born at 8:36pm on 11/24/18 (Shana's birthday!). Welcome, little one! 11/19/18: Congratulations to Brooke Schleyer for publishing her paper in the Rutgers Research Review: Joint self-control failures: Sharing goals with peers diminishes feelings of goal failure. 11/9/18: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for winning an APA Dissertation Award for her dissertation work on perceptions of and attention to transgender individuals!
  • Spring 2018
    6/29/18: Kristina presented a talk at SPSSI in Pittsburgh: 'Perceptual misgendering: Perceptual biases contribute to classification of transgender individuals'. 5/2/18: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for winning the 2018 Social Area Award for Exceptional Teaching! 4/26/18: Congratulations to Brooke Schleyer and Darla Bonagura for receiving prestigious Henry Rutgers Scholar Awards for their outstanding honors theses! So proud! 4/26/18: Congratulations to Shana for receiving the 2018 SAS Award for Distinguished Contribution to Undergraduate Education! 4/18/18: Congratulations to Brooke Schleyer for receiving the Abella Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis, "Co-failing at self-control: Indulging with peers diminishes feelings of goal failure"! 4/18/18: Congratulations to Amalia Hubal for her acceptance into La Salle's Clinical Psy.D. program! 4/9/18: Congratulations to Sam Klein for receiving a prestigious Research Excellence Award from the Chancellor of Rutgers New Brunswick! This award is given annually to only THREE undergraduates from the entire Rutgers community, and Sam is the first psychology major to win the award. Go Sam! 3/23/18: Congratulations to Kelly Love for her acceptance into graduate school! Kelly will be attending Sacred Heart University and pursuing a M.S. in Applied Psychology- I/O. 3/13/18: Congratulations to Sam Klein for his acceptance into graduate school! Sam will be pursuing a Clinical PhD at the University of Minnesota in Fall 2018. 3/1/18: Janna Kline is presenting a poster at SPSP in Atlanta: 'Co-failing at self-control: Shared indulgence predicts minimized guilt and biased food representation' 3/1/18: Kristina is presenting a Data Blitz at the Gender pre-conference for SPSP: 'Perceptual misgendering: Perceptual biases contribute to prejudice against transgender individuals'. 2/19/18: Kristina was featured as an Instructor Spotlight in the Rutgers 2017 Annual Summer Report for her hybrid Quantitative Methods course. 1/28/18: Check out our new paper in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Political opposites do not attract: The effects of ideological dissimilarity on impression formation.
  • Fall 2017
    10/13/17: Shana is giving a talk at SESP in Boston: 'The look of success: Biased self-perceptions act as informational feedback during goal pursuit. 9/1/17: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky and Janna Kline who both received Graduate Student Travel Awards from SPSP! 8/10/17: Congratulations to Janna for successfully defending her M.S. thesis: 'Goals as identities: Exploring the link between goal-centrality and self-control.'
  • Spring 2017
    5/4/17: Congratulations to Brooke Schleyer and Shreya Bajpai who both received Cooper Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships! 5/3/17: A big congratulations to Samantha Bruno for her acceptance into the Rutgers Graduate School of Education! 5/1/17: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for receiving a Student Travel Award from SITAR. 4/20/17: Caitlyn Smith is going to graduate school! Congrats to Caitlyn on her acceptance into the Occupational Therapy program at Kean University. 4/17/17: Congratulations to Pamela Gomez for her acceptance into the Social Psychology PhD program at Rutgers-Newark! 4/15/17: Shana is co-organizing a conference on self-regulation entitled, New Insights into Affective and Behavioral Regulatory Processes. Check it out here! 4/6/17: Congratulations to Janna Kline who won both the Social Area Award for Departmental Service AND the Social Area Award for Exceptional Teaching! 4/6/17: Congratulations to Annie Albuja and Kim Chaney who were co-recipients of the Social Area Award for Exceptional Research! 4/28/17: Congratulations to Daniel Robinson for receiving honorable mention for his poster at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Conference! 2/1/17: Congratulations to Sam Klein for receiving the Eastern Regional Research Award at the Eastern Psychological Association conference! 1/19/17: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for winning the Outstanding Student Poster Award at SPSP!
  • Fall 2016
    12/1/16: Shana is giving a talk at the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science: 'Goal promoting perception: How biases in attention and perception aid goal pursuit. 9/20/16: Shana is giving a talk at SESP in Santa Monica: '"If they gunned me down: "Street" clothes and posture activate negative stereotypes and influence attributions of blame' 8/6/16: Congratulations to Shana Cole, Kristina Howansky, & Analia Albuja for receiving the Wayne F. Placek Grant for LGBT research from the American Psychological Foundation!
  • Spring 2016
    7/19/16: Shana is giving a talk at the Conference on Motivation and Social Cognition in Gdansk, Poland: 'Seeing is for self-control: Motivated perceptual processes aid temptation resistance. 5/26/16: Shana is giving a talk at APS in Chicago: 'Out of reach and under control: Perceptual distancing during dieting self-control conflicts' 5/25/16: Shana is giving a talk at the Society for the Study of Motivation conference: 'Near and nothing to it: Perceived proximity increases feasibility and promotes goal-directed action. 5/25/16: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for winning the Social Area Award for Exceptional Teaching! 5/25/16: Congratulations to Annie Albuja and Kim Chaney who were co-recipients of the Social Area Award for Exceptional Departmental Service! 5/20/16: Check out our new paper in Personality and Social Psychology. In the eye of the betrothed: Perceptual downgrading of attractive alternative romantic partners 5/5/16: Congratulations to Sam Klein and Caitlyn Smith who both received Cooper Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships! 5/5/16: Congratulations to Ankita Huckoo for receiving the Phillips Award for Outstanding honors thesis and being named a Henry Rutgers Scholar! 5/4/16: Congratulations to Janna Kline for winning the Young Scientist Poster award at the Society for the Study of Motivation conference! 5/1/16: Congratulations to Samantha Bruno for publishing her paper in the Rutgers Research Review. Believing is seeing: The influence of a transgender label on visual perception and attitudes. 5/1/16: Congratulations to Sydney Gecha for publishing her paper in the Rutgers Research Review. Perceived and objective knowledge about politics as a predictor of political activism. 4/29/16: Congratulations to Arshneil Kaur for receiving the Best Poster Award at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Conference! 4/29/16: Congratulations to Caitlyn Smith for receiving honorable mention at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Conference! 4/20/16: Congratulations Alessa Natale for her acceptance into graduate school! Alessa will be pursuing an I/O PhD at CUNY in Fall 2016. 1/28/16: Congratulations to Annie Albuja for winning the Outstanding Student Poster Award at SPSP! 1/28/16: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for being runner up for the Outstanding Student Poster Award at SPSP! 1/9/16: Check out our new paper in Motivation Science. Near and nothing to it: Perceived proximity improves exercise by increasing feasibility appraisals. 1/1/16: Check out our new paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Government instability shifts skin tone representations of and intentions to vote for political candidates.
  • Fall 2015
    12/23/15: Congratulations to Shana Cole for winning the Association for Psychological Science Rising Star Award! 9/28/15: Congratulations to Kristina for successfully defending her M.S. thesis: 'Getting warmer: The optimal distance for motivating climate change mitigation.' 11/25/15: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for receiving the Rutgers University Hybrid Grant Course Conversion Award!
  • Spring 2015
    5/23/15: Shana is giving a talk at APS in NYC: 'Near and nothing to it: Perceived proximity increases goal-directed effort by increasing ease and efficacy. 5/21/15: Shana is giving a talk at the Society for the Study of Motivation conference in NYC: 'Out of reach and under control: Perceptual distancing during dieting self-control conflicts. 5/13/15: Congratulations to Kristina Howansky for winning the Social Area Award for Exceptional Departmental Service! 2/26/15: Shana is giving a talk at the Social Cognition Pre-Conference at SPSP in Long Beach, CA: 'Seeing is for self-regulating: Motivated perceptual processes aid goal pursuit 10/4/14: Shana is giving a talk at the SESP conference in Columbus, OH: 'Lead us not close to temptation: Perceptual distancing during self-control conflicts.'
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