Dr. Ed Hirt is the director of the Hirt Laboratory. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from Indiana University in 1987, under the mentorship of Jim Sherman. He was an Assistant Professor at Penn State and University of Wisconsin-Madison before returning to IU in 1991. His main areas of research interest center on human motivation and performance, and he takes a variety of different approaches to studying these questions. One of his main lines of research has focused on the role of self-protective behaviors, most notably self-handicapping, in protecting the self-concept when confronted with important assessments of ability or aptitude. Most recently, his work has focused on self-regulation and self-control. While the field continues to debate whether depletion is a real effect, our research has illustrated that subjective perceptions of depletion and mental fatigue reliably drive subsequent motivation and performance, such that individuals who perceive themselves to be depleted (or replenished) act on the basis of their perceived level of resources. Our research has demonstrated that many factors contribute to these resource perceptions, including implicit theories of willpower (Job et al., 2010), free will beliefs, political ideology, and need for cognition.
Our lab is very collaborative and benefits greatly from the contributions of the current graduate students and undergraduate research assistants who are members of the lab. As we all know, research is a cumulative process, and each new investigation raises interesting questions for future studies. We routinely collaborate with many former lab members, who have gone on to pursue successful academic and non-academic careers elsewhere. We are very proud of their accomplishments.