Arlen Moller is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University (2000), and master’s degree and Ph.D. degree in social and personality psychology from the University of Rochester (2004 and 2007, respectively). His primary research interest involves promoting healthy lifestyle changes that last across multiple health behaviors. This work frequently involves using and developing theories of human motivation and emotion (self-determination theory; social identity theories) and digital technologies (e.g., wearables, virtual reality, video games). Because this research is often cross-disciplinary (involving collaborations with scholars in design, engineering, computer sciences, humanities, and medicine), Moller is committed to learning more about how to do team science well. He is an active member of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and serves on the editorial board of the Center for Self-Determination Theory.


Courses Taught

Illinois Institute of Technology
Intro to Psychology (Spring 2013, 2014)
Social Psychology (Fall 2012 - 2021)
Graduate-level Social Basis of Behavior (Fall 2012 - 2021)
Intro to Professional Psychology II (Spring 2014, 2015, 2021)
The Psychological Science of Money (Spring 2015, 2017)
Gun Violence, Psychology, and Public Health (Fall 2018, 2019)
Human Motivation & Emotion (Fall 2016, 2020)

Gettysburg College
Basic Dynamics in Personality (Fall 2007, 2008, Spring 2008)
Advanced Social and Personality Psychology (Fall 2007, 2008)
Introduction to Psychology (Spring 2008)

University of Rochester
Human Motivation & Emotion (Summer 2002, Spring2007)
Introduction to Psychology (Summer 2004)
Writing about Motivation (Fall 2005, Spring 2006)


Ph.D., University of Rochester (2007)
B.A., Cornell University (2000)

Research Interests

Human motivation

Financial incentives

Social networks and social support (in-person and digitally mediated)

Human computer interaction (HCI; wearable activity trackers; AR/VR)

Digital health

Death reflection

Gun violence

Occupational health

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Visiting faculty, Northeastern University (2021–2022)

Affiliated faculty, University of Lisbon, PANOS*SR Research Group (2021–present)

Affiliated faculty, Illinois Tech Center for Ethics in the Professions (2021–present) 

Editorial board, Center for Self-Determination Theory (2018–present)

Society of Behavioral Medicine (2009–2022)


Journal Articles

  1. Elliot, A. J., & Moller, A. C. (2003). Performance-approach goals: Good or bad forms of regulation? International Journal of Educational Research, 39,339-356.
  2. Moller, A. C., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2006). Self-determination theory and public policy: Improving the quality of consumer decisions without using coercion. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 25, 104-116.
  3. Deci, E. L., La Guardia, J. G., Moller, A. C., Scheiner, M. J., & Ryan, R. M. (2006). On the benefits of giving as well as receiving autonomy support: Mutuality in close friendships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,32, 313-327.
  4. Cury, F., Elliot, A. J., Da Fonseca, D., & Moller, A. C. (2006). The social-cognitive model of achievement motivation and the 2 x 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,90, 666-679.
  5. Moller, A. C., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2006). Choice & ego-depletion: A self-determination theory perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32,1024-1036.
  6. Elliot, A. E., Maier, M., Moller, A. C., Friedman, R., & Meinhardt, J. (2007). Color and psychological functioning: The effect of red on performance attainment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 154-168.
  7. Moller, A. C., Forbes-Jones, E., Hightower, A. D, & Friedman, R. (2008). The influence of preschool classroom sex composition: Boys fare worse in preschool classrooms with more boys. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,23, 409-418.
  8. Moller, A. C., Forbes-Jones, E., Hightower, A. D. (2008). Classroom age-composition and developmental change in 70 urban classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100,741-753.
  9. Moller, A. C., Elliot, A. J., Friedman, R. (2008). When competence and love are at stake: Achievement goals and perceived closeness to parents in an achievement context. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1386-1391.
  10. Moller, A. C., Elliot, A. J., & Maier, M. (2009). Basic hue-meaning associations. Emotion, 9, 898-902.
  11. Deci, E. L., Friedman, R., Elliot, A. J., Moller, A. C., & Aarts, H. (2010). Motivational synchronicity: Priming motivational states via exposure to others. Motivation and Emotion, 34, 34-38.
  12. Moller, A. C., & Deci, E. L. (2010). Interpersonal control, dehumanization, and violence: A self-determination theory perspective. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 13,41-53.
  13. Moller, A. C., Deci, E. L., & Elliot, A. J. (2010). Person-level relatedness and the incremental value of relating. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 754-767.
  14. Knudson, B., Moller, A. C., Spring, B. (2010). How to catalyze learning in the online environment. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39(S1), 1001.
  15. Moller, A. C., McFadden, H.G., DeMott, A., Roehrig, M, Spring, B.(2010). Patient preferences in health behavior change. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39(S1),2061.
  16. Spring, B., Schneider, K., McFadden, H.G., Vaughn, J., Kozak, A. T., Smith, M., Moller, A. C., Epstein, L., Russell, S., DeMott, A., & Hedeker, D. (2010). Make Better Choices (MBC) Study Design: An RCT Testing Optimal Technology-Supported Change in Multiple Diet and Physical Activity Risk Behaviors. BMC Public Health, 10, 586.
  17. Meier, B. P., Moller, A. C.,Chen, J., & Riemer-Peltz, M. H. (2011). Embodied real estate: North-South location biases housing preference and pricing. Social Psychological and Personality Science,2(5), 547-553.
  18. Diehl, J. J., Wolf, J., Herlihy, L., & Moller, A. C. (2011). Seeing red: Are colors a window into implicit societal conceptions of the autism spectrum?Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 31(3).
  19. Spring, B., Moller, A. C., Coons, M. (2012). Multiple health behaviours: Overview and implications. Journal of Public Health, 34(S1),i3-i10.
  20. Liu, K., Daviglus, M., Loria, C., Colangelo, L., Spring, B., Moller, A. C., & Lloyd-Jones, D. (2012). Healthy lifestyle through young adulthood and presence of low cardiovascular disease risk profile in middle age. Circulation, 125, 996-1003.
  21. Moller, A.C., McFadden, H. G., Hedeker, D., Spring, B. (2012). Financial motivation undermines maintenance in an intensive diet and activity intervention. Journal of Obesity, 2012, 1-8,, PMC3323849
  22. Spring, B., Schneider, K., McFadden, H. G., Vaughn, J., Kozak, A. T., Smith, M., Moller, A. C., Epstein, L. H., DeMott, A., Hedeker, D., Siddique, J., Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (2012). Multiple behavior changes in diet and activity: A randomized controlled trial using mobile technology. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(10), 789-796.
  23. Pellegrini, C. A., Duncan, J. M., Moller, A. C.,Buscemi, J., Sularz, A., DeMott, A., Pictor, A., Pagoto, S., Siddique, J., & Spring, B. (2012). A Smartphone-Supported Weight Loss Program: Design of the ENGAGED Randomized Controlled Trial. BMC Public Health.
  24. Moller, A. C.,Buscemi, J., McFadden, H. G., Hedeker, D., & Spring, B. (2014). Financial motivation undermines potential enjoyment in an intensive diet & activity intervention. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 819-827. PMID: 24142187,
  25. Spring, B., Moller, A. C.,Colangelo, L., Siddique, J., Roehrig, M., Daviglus, M., Polak, J. F., Reis, J. P., Sidney, S., Liu, K. (2014). Healthy lifestyle change and subclinical atherosclerosis in young adults: Coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) Study. Circulation, 130,10-17. PMID: 24982115,
  26. Moller, A. C., Majewski, S., Standish, M., Agarwal, P., Podowski, A., Carson, R., Eyesus, B., Shah, A., & Schneider, K. L. (2014). Augmented fantasy sports: Rationale and feasibility of leveraging online fantasy sports to promote physical activity. Journal of Internet Medical Research Serious Games, 4,e13.
  27. Poncela-Casasnovas, J., Spring, B., McClary, D., Moller, A. C., Mukogo, R., Pellegrini, C. A., Coons, M. J., Davidson, M, Mukherjee, S., Amaral, L. A. N. (2015). Social embeddedness in an online weight management program is linked to greater weight loss. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 12(104).
  28. Moller, A. C., Merchant, G., Conroy, D., West, R., Hekler, E., Kuglar, K., Michie, S. (2017). Applying and advancing behavior change theories and techniques in the context of digital health interventions. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 40, 85-98.
  29. Kao, A. C., Jager, A., Koenig, B., Moller, A. C., Tutty, M.,Williams, G. C., Wright, S. (2018). Physician perception of pay fairness and its association with work satisfaction, intent to leave current practice, and personal health. Journal of General Internal Medicine.
  30. Moller, A. C., Roth, G., Niemiec, C. P., Kanat-Maymon, Y., & Deci, E. L. (2018). Mediators of the associations between parents’ conditional regard and the quality of their adult-children’s peer relationships. Motivation & Emotion, 43, 35-51.
  31. Keeny, J. Schneider, K., &Moller, A. C. (2019). Lessons learned during the development of an asynchronous, active video game intervention: Moving fantasy sports from sedentary to active. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 41, 200-210.
  32. Moller, A. C., Jager, A. J., Williams, G. C., & Kao, A. C. (2019). U.S. physicians' work motivation and their occupational health: A national survey of practicing physicians. Medical Care, 57, 334-340.
  33. Moller, A. C., & Sheldon, K. M. (2019). Athletic scholarships are negatively associated with intrinsic motivation for sports, even decades later: Evidence for long-term undermining.Motivation Science.
  34. Moller, A. C., Ntoumanis, N., & Williams, G. C. (2019). Financial incentives may influence health behaviors, but do we end up with less than we paid for? A self-determination theory perspective. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 53(11), 939–941.
  35. Teixeira, P. J., Marques, M. M., Silva, M. N., Brunet, J., Duda, J., Haerens, L., La Guardia, J., Lindwall, M., Lonsdale, C., Markland, D., Michie, S., Moller, A. C., Ntoumanis, N., Patrick, H., Reeve, Johnmarshall, Ryan, R. M., Sebire, S., Standage, M., Vansteenkiste, M., Weinstein, N., Weman-Josefsson, K., Williams, G. C., Hagger, M. (2020). Classification of techniques used in self-determination theory-based change interventions in health contexts: An expert consensus study. Motivation Science.
  36. Moller, A. C., Olafsen, A. H., Jager, A. J., Kao, A. C., & Williams, G. C. (2021). Motivational mechanisms underlying physicians’ occupational health: A self-determination theory perspective: Medical Care Research and Review
  37. Moller, A. C., Olafsen, A. H., Jager, A. J., Kao, A. C., & Williams, G. C. (2021). Motivational mechanisms underlying physicians’ occupational health: A self-determination theory perspective: Medical Care Research and Review
  38. Moller, A. C., Kornfield, R., Lu, A. S. (2022). Competition in digital games games-for-health as basic need supporting or frustrating: Extending SDT-informed HCI research. Position Paper for Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’22 Workshop on Self-Determination Theory in HCI: Shaping a Research Agenda), April 29-May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA.
  39. Lu, A. S. & Moller, A. C. (2022). Elaborating the role of narrative and self-determination theory (SDT) in game design research. Position Paper for Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’22 Workshop on Self-Determination Theory in HCI: Shaping a Research Agenda), April 29-May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA
  40. Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration (2022). A global experiment on motivating social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119.
  41. Du Bois, S., Manser, K., Cannon, M., Guerra, W., Lee, J., & Moller, A. C. (2022). Facilitators and barriers to SOGI disclosure to healthcare providers among LGBTQ+ college students. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.
  42. Weinstein, N., Legate, N., Graham, L., Zheng, Y., & Moller, A. C. (in press). Motivating prejudice reduction and avoiding defiant backlash: Studies with police officers and staff. Journal of Applied Psychology.



  1. Deci, E. L., & Moller, A. C. (2005). The concept of competence: A starting place for understanding intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation (pp. 579-597). In A. Elliot & C. Dweck (Eds.) Handbook of Competence Motivation, New York: Plenum Press.
  2. Moller, A. C., Friedman, R., & Deci, E. L. (2006). A self-determination theory perspectives on the interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of self-esteem. In M. H. Kernis (Ed.), Self-Esteem Issues and Answers: A Sourcebook of Current Perspectives, Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
  3. Moller, A. C., & Elliot, A. J. (2006). The 2 x 2 achievement goal framework: An overview of empirical research (pp. 307-326). In A. V. Mitel (Ed.), Focus on Educational Psychology Research, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
  4. Moller, A. C., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2007). Self-determination theory (p. 806-810). In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, Vol. 2, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  5. Moller, A. C., & Deci, E. L. (2007). Control (p. 182-185). In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, Vol. 1, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  6. Moller, A. C. (2009). [Review of the book Handbook of Research Methods in Personality Psychology]. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28 (6), 796-798.
  7. Friedman, R., Moller, A. C., Fryer, J. W., Zahn, I., Law, W., Acuff, R. D., Niesta, D., Murayama, K., Meier, A. M., Jelstad, B., & Elliot, A. J. (2009). Achievement goals in the context of the hierarchical model of approach-avoidance achievement motivation. In S. Karabenick & A. Kaplan (Eds.), Culture, Self, and Motivation: Essays in Honor of Martin L. Maehr. NY: Information Age Publishers.
  8. Moller, A. C., & Elliot, A. E. (2009). Competence (p. 121-122). In D. Matsumoto (Ed.), In Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  9. Moller, A. C., Meier, B. P., & Wall, R. W. (2010). Developing an experimental induction of flow: Effortless action in the lab (p. 191-204). In B. J. Bruya (Ed.), Effortless Attention: A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action, Boston, MA: MIT Press.
  10. Hesse, B.W. (2011). COALESCE (CTSA Online Assistance for Leveraging the Science of Collaborative Effort). JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 306,1925-1926. This is a review of the online training tool developed by Spring, B., Moller, A. C., and Falk-Krzesinski, H. J.
  11. Spring, B., Moller, A. C., Falk-Krzesinski, H. J., & Hall, K. L. (2012). An emerging science and praxis for research and practice teams (Editorial; Special Issue Guest Editors). Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2(4),411-414.
  12. Spring, B., Pictor, A., DeMott, A., Ferguson, M., & Moller, A. C. (2013). Research to practice translation. In M. D. Gellman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine, Boston MA: Springer Press.
  13. Moller, A. C.,& Spring, B. (2013). What to do when near-term rewards mask long-term consequences. Interview by Paul Terry. American Journal of Health Promotion, 27(4). PMID: 23570063
  14. Moller, A. C., Waters, E. A., & Hay, J. L. (2013). Financial incentives in behavioral medicine: A complex issue. Society of Behavioral Medicine, Outlook. Fall 2013.
  15. Moller, A. C., & Deci, E. L. (2014). Intrinsic Motivation (p. 3378-3381). In A. C. Michalos (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life Research, Springer Press, Dordrecht, Netherlands. ISBM# 978-94-007-0752-8
  16. Moller, A. C., & Deci, E. L. (2014). The psychology of getting paid: An integrated perspective (pp.189-211). In E. H. Bijleveld & H. Aarts (Eds.), The psychological science of money, New York, NY: Springer Press.
  17. Ryan, R. M. & Moller, A.C. (2017). Competence as a necessary but not sufficient condition for high quality motivation: A self-determination theory perspective. In A. Elliot, C. Dweck, & D. Yeager (Eds.) Handbook of Competence Motivation (2nd Edition, pp. 214-231), New York: Guilford Press.
  18. Maher, K., Moller, A. C., & Raja, S. (2019). Leading the narrative: How do researchers and clinicians discuss gun violence? Society of Behavioral Medicine, Outlook, Fall 2019.
  19. Miller, J. L., Paciga, K. A., Kocurek, C. A., & Moller, A. C. (2019). Editorial: Interactive Digital Technologies and Early Childhood. Frontiers in Psychology: Human-Media Interaction
  20. 20. Moller, A. C., & Deci, E. L. (2020). Intrinsic Motivation. In F. Maggino (Eds): Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, New York: Springer Nature Press.
  21. Moller, A. C. (2020). Intrinsic Motivation. Center for Self-Determination Theory.
  22.  Moller, A. C. (2020). Intrinsic Motivation. Center for Self-Determination Theory.
  23. Ntoumanis, N., & Moller, A. C. (2022). Facilitating Health Behavior Change: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective. In R. M. Ryan & E. L. Deci (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Self-Determination Theory. (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press.


Media Appearances