Catalina Kopetz

Catalina Kopetz

Associate Professor of Psychology
Social Cognition and Motivation


313-577-7636 (fax)

 5057 Woodward Ave. 

Room 8405.3

Curriculum vitae


Catalina Kopetz

Dr. Kopetz is accepting graduate students for the academic year 2021-2022

My research focuses on self-regulation phenomena from the perspective of motivation as cognition. I am particularly interested in identifying and understanding the mechanisms that underlie goal pursuit and the management of multiple goals and goal conflict. My research investigates these basic mechanisms that govern human action in general, and in particular it attempts to understand their functioning in health-relevant judgment and behavior (e.g. dieting, substance use, HIV risk behavior).


In several projects, my current research attempts to address the following questions:

  • How do people juggle multiple goals and what are the consequences of pursuing multiple goals?
  • Why do people fail to pursue goals that are important for them (e.g. exercising more often, maintaining a healthy diet)?
  • Why do people decide to engage in health-compromising behaviors (HIV risk-behavior, drunk driving, smoking) despite their best intentions not to?
  • Could so-called “impulsive” behaviors (e.g. self-harm) be in fact strategic goal-pursuit whereby such behaviors represent means to individual’s chronic and momentary goals?
  • How social context (social rejection, early psycho-social deprivation) may influence individual’s vulnerability to risk behavior?


  • Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park (2007)
  • M.A. in Social Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park (2002)
  • M.A. in Experimental Psychology, Universite de Savoie, Chambery, France (2000)
  • B.A. in Psychology, “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (1998)

Awards and grants

  • “Mechanisms underlying intermittent compared to daily smoking” (R21CA222939-01), 2018-2021. Role: Principal investigator

  • “Translating drinking and driving risk information into risk perception” (R01 AA020510-01A1), 2012-2017. Role: Co- investigator

  •  “Early psychosocial deprivation and risk taking among adolescents in Romania” International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research, National Institute of Drug Abuse (1R21DA031357-01), 2012-2014. Role: Principal investigator

  •  “Mechanisms of change”; Administrative Supplement for “Stage II trial of novel behavioral activation intervention for smoking cessation” (R01DA018730-06S1), 2012-2013. Role: Principal investigator

Selected publications

  • Kruglanski, A.W., Szumowska, E., Kopetz, C., Vallerand, R. J., & Pierro, A. (2020). On the psychology of extremism: How motivational imbalance breeds intemperance. Psychological Review. Advance online publication.
  • Wiers, R. W., van Dessel, P., & Kopetz, C. (2020). ABC-training: a new theory-based form of cognitive bias modification to foster automatization of alternative choices in the treatment of addiction and related disorders. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29, 499-505; doi: 10.1177/0963721420949500
  • Kopetz, C., Woerner, J. I., MacPherson, L., & Lejuez, C. W., Nelson, C. A., Zeanah, C. H., & Fox, N. (2019). Early psychosocial deprivation and adolescent risk-taking: The role of motivation and executive control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; 10.1037/xge0000486.
  • Kopetz, C., Woerner, J. I., Starnes, W., & Dedvukaj, J. (2019). It’s risky, therefore I do it: Counterfinality as a source of perceived instrumentality of risk behavior as means to goals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology;
  • Kopetz, C., Woerner, J. I., Briskin, J. L. (2018). Another look at impulsivity: Could impulsive behavior represent strategic goal pursuit? Social and Personality Psychology Compass; e12385.
  • Kopetz, C., Collado, A. C., & Lejuez, C. W. (2015). When the end justifies the means; Automatic tendencies toward sex-trade for crack cocaine. Motivation Science, 1(4), 233-243.
  • Kopetz, C. & Orehek, A., E. (2015). When the end justifies the means; Self-defeating behavior as “rational” and “successful” self-regulation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(5), 386-391.
  •  Kopetz, C., Lejuez, C. W, Wiers, R., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2013). Motivation and self-regulation in addiction. Perspectives in Psychological Sciences, 8(1), 3-24.
  • Kruglanski, A. W., Kopetz, C., Belanger, J., Chun, W. Y., Orehek, E., & Fishbach, A. (2013). Features of Multifinality: Effects of Goal Plurality on Means Preferences. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17(1), 22-39
  • Kruglanski, A.W., Belanger, J., Chen, X., Kopetz, C., Pierro, A., & Mannetti, L. (2012). The Energetics of Motivated Cognition: A Force Field Analysis. Psychological Review, 119(1), 1-20.
  • Kopetz, C., Faber, T., Fishbach, A., & Kruglanski, A. (2011). Multifinality Constraints Effect: How Goal Multiplicity Narrows the Means Set to a Focal End. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(5), 810-826.

Currently teaching

  • Introduction to Social Psychology (Graduate and Undergraduate)

Courses taught

  • Advanced Seminar in Social Cognition (Graduate) 
  • Advanced Seminar in Motivation and Self-regulation (Graduate)
  • Research Methods (Honors)