This course is discontinued

PSY4109 – Motivational processes and self-regulation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Being able to pursue one’s goals and to regulate one’s impulses is a prerequisite for physical and mental health in our culture, and for maintaining close social ties with others. The human capacity for planning and for long-term and collaborative goal pursuit enables culture and technological progress. However, there is also a lot of variability in people’s self-regulatory abilities, which are relevant for individual outcomes such as well-being or clinical conditions as well as for societal outcomes such as public spending. Therefore, this course will cover basic and applied aspects of human motivational processes and self-regulation.


Learning outcome

It will enable students:

• To describe psychological processes of behaviour regulation, goal choice, goal pursuit, self-control, and emotion control
• To understand several basic methodological approaches to the study of problems in this area
• To critically analyse empirical research conducted in the studied area
• To identify situations and phenomena in everyday life that illustrate the relevant concepts and theories
• To apply some of the findings to practical problems
• To evaluate various health-behaviour interventions in terms of their theoretical approach and their outcomes
• To understand the different disciplinary approaches to the study of motivational processes and self-regulation and to recognize their unique contributions

Students of this course will be able to identify motivational forces, stages of self-regulation, and reasons for successes and failures, in their own and others' self-regulation and to reflect on this in a scientific manner.


This course is aimed at students in the Master's Programme in Psychology, Health Psychology option. There is a limited number of places for students in the OLA-master as well as ERASMUS-students.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course builds on knowledge of health psychology. Students taking this course should read the literature from the bachelor course in health psychology before the teaching starts:

Ogden, Jane (2012): Health Psychology (med CD-rom), 5.ed. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press. ISBN: 9780077147259


Access to teaching

The course is planned as covering 5 ECTS, and will be a combination of lectures and seminars. There are two up to date edited volumes on the main topics of goal striving and self-regulation. Therefore, the course will be mainly based on chapters from these books. In the seminar sessions, students will give short presentations on chapters and articles, and discuss them. The seminar includes getting first-hand experience with self-regulatory techniques and research methods. 


Language of examination

Presentation in group.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Høsten 2013


Høsten 2013

Teaching language