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Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Sean McCrea

Sean McCrea

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My current research interests broadly focus on the interplay of motivational and cognitive processes. Our laboratory is currently focusing on the role of counterfactual thought in self-evaluation, in particular how these thoughts can be used to protect self-esteem or motivate self-improvement. We are also examining the motivational bases for self-handicapping and personality differences in the use of this self-protective strategy.

Other areas of research and interest include biases in counterfactual thinking, procrastination, planning and goal pursuit, and judgment and decision making.

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Causal Attribution
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Gender Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Nuñez, N., McCrea, S. M., & Culhane, S. E. (in press). Jury decision making research: Are researchers focusing on the mouse and not the elephant in the room? Behavioral Sciences and Law.
  • Crawford, M. T., & McCrea, S. M. (2004). When motivations meet mutations: Attitudes bias counterfactual thought. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 65-74.
  • Hirt, E. R., Devers, E. E., & McCrea, S. M. (2008). I want to be creative: Exploring the role of hedonic contingency theory in the positive mood - cognitive flexibility link. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 214-230
  • Hirt, E. R., & McCrea, S. M. (2009). Man smart, woman smarter?: Getting to the root of gender differences in self-handicapping. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 260-274.
  • Hirt, E. R., McCrea, S. M., & Boris, H. I. (2003). 'I know you self-handicapped last exam': Gender differences in reactions to self-handicapping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 177-193.
  • Hirt, E. R., McCrea, S. M., & Kimble, C. R. (2000). Public self-focus and sex differences in behavioral self-handicapping: Does increasing self-threat still make it 'just a man's game?' Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1131-1141.
  • Liberman, N., Trope, Y., McCrea, S. M., & Sherman, S. J. (2007). The effect of level of construal on the temporal distance of activity engagement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 143-149.
  • McCrea, S. M. (2008). Self-handicapping, excuse-making, and counterfactual thinking: Consequences for self-esteem and future motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 274-292.
  • McCrea, S. M. (2007). Group and self-serving biases in counterfactual thought. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 1256-1271.
  • McCrea, S. M., & Hirt, E. R. (2011). Limitations on the substitutability of self-protective processes: Self-handicapping is not reduced by related-domain self-affirmations. Social Psychology, 42, ##-##.
  • McCrea, S. M., & Hirt, E. R. (2009). Match madness: Probability matching in prediction of the NCAA basketball tournament. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 2809-2839.
  • McCrea, S. M., & Hirt, E. R. (2001). The role of ability judgments in self-handicapping. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1378-1389.
  • McCrea, S. M., Hirt, E. R., Hendrix, K. L., Milner, B.J., & Steele, N. L. (2008). The Worker scale: Developing a measure to explain gender differences in behavioral self-handicapping. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 949-970.
  • McCrea, S. M., Hirt, E. R., & Milner, B. J. (2008). She works hard for the money: Valuing effort underlies gender differences in behavioral self-handicapping. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 292-311.
  • McCrea, S. M., Liberman, N., Trope, Y., & Sherman, S. J. (2008). Construal level and procrastination. Psychological Science, 19, 1308-1314.

Other Publications:

  • Gollwitzer, P. M., Wieber, F., Myers, A. L., & McCrea, S. M. (2010). How to maximize implementation intention effects. In C. R. Agnew, D. E. Carlston, W. G. Graziano, J. R. Kelly (Eds.), Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research. (pp. 137-161). New York: Oxford Press.
  • Hirt, E. R., & McCrea, S. M. (2002). Positioning self-handicapping within the self-zoo: Just what kind of animal are we dealing with here? In J. P. Forgas & K. D. Williams (Eds.). The Social Self: Cognitive, Interpersonal, and Intergroup Perspectives. (pp. 97-126). New York: Psychology Press.
  • McCrea, S. M., Myers, A. L., & Hirt, E. R. (2009). Self-handicapping as an anticipatory self-protection strategy. In E. Lamont (Ed.). Social Psychology: New Research. (pp. 31-53). Hauppuage, NY: Nova Science.

Courses Taught:

  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Motivation
  • Psychology of the Self
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Self-Regulation
  • Social Judgment

Sean McCrea
Department of Psychology
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, Wyoming 82071
United States

  • Phone: (307) 766-6149
  • Fax: (307) 766-2926

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