Sports psychologist to discuss motivation theory at 2016 Harris Lecture

Marjorie S. Miller
April 14, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Department of Kinesiology will host the Dorothy V. Harris Lecture Series in Sport Psychology from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. on April 21 in 110 Henderson Building on the University Park campus.

Glyn Caerwyn Roberts, professor emeritus of psychology in the Department of Coaching and Psychology at the Norwegian University of Sport Science, will present the lecture, “The Changing Face of Motivation: Some Personal Reflections.” It is free and open to the public.

Roberts will discuss existing definitions and theories of motivation and their evolution and provide some personal perspectives on new or re-emerging constructs in motivation theories in recent years.

“Understanding motivational processes in the context of sport and physical activity is important because levels of activity in children and youth are declining worldwide,” said Steriani Elavsky, associate professor of kinesiology. “Understanding the mechanisms of enhancing motivation is critical for the development of effective intervention programs as well as for enhancing sport performance and participation.”

Roberts retired from the Norwegian University of Sport Science in 2012 and was previously professor of sport psychology in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois for 25 years.

Roberts’ research is in the area of achievement motivation, sport and physical activity participation, particularly in children. He studies how achievement goals impact cognitive, affective and behavioral responses in the context of sport and physical activity. He has also researched the role of coaches in shaping motivational climate for children.

“Dr. Roberts has unique experience not only as a researcher but also as an applied psychologist, having worked with athletes and consulting with athletic teams,” Elavsky said. “One of his messages behind the talk is translating some of the findings on motivation into applied settings and making them easily interpretable for practitioners.”

The Dorothy V. Harris Lecture Series in Sport Psychology honors Dorothy Harris, a Penn State alumna, past faculty member, and pioneer in the fields of sport psychology and women in sport. While at Penn State, she developed one of the first graduate programs in sport psychology in the country. Later, she became the first woman president of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State in 1982, and in 2004, the Board of Trustees named a residence hall on the University Park campus in her honor. Begun in 1995, the lecture is presented annually in memory of Harris, who passed away in 1991.

The first year of the Harris lecture was 1995-96, and since then the series has hosted 20 distinguished speakers who are considered some of the leading figures in sport/exercise psychology.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 14, 2016