Raymond P. Perry, PhD

home    |     awards    |     funding    |     research & publications    |     laboratory    

Dr. Raymond P. Perry
Distinguished Professor
Department of Psychology
190 Dysart Road
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3T 2N2
Phone: (204) 474-7838


Research Focus:

        In collaboration with colleagues in Canada, the USA, Germany, and Great Britain, I study motivation across the lifespan and how causal thinking shapes states of mind and resilience. It is guided by the premise that, in trying to make sense of life's circumstances, people employ causal thinking to identify explanations for their successes and failures. As a metacognitive phenomenon, causal thinking regulates cognitive, affective, motivation, and behavior consequences across the lifespan. Life setbacks attributed to controllable causes engender psychologically resilient mindsets; the same setbacks trigger helpless mindsets when ascribed to uncontrollable causes.

        My studies have examined youth struggling with personal challenge, older adults dealing with psychological and physical disabilities, people stigmatized for being different, and faculty members’ career development. Despite psychological distress and repeated failure, young adults having adaptive mindsets (controllable causes) persist in competitive achievement situations in the face of adversity. Older adults who ascribe health challenges to ‘old age’ (uncontrollable causes) have shorter lifespans than peers who attribute the same problems to controllable causes such as poor diet and lack of exercise. Other studies show that prejudice and discrimination is more likely when people ascribe controllable (vs. uncontrollable) causes to stigmas such as obesity or poverty.

        Control-enhancing treatment interventions (Attributional Retraining: AR) have been developed to ameliorate maladaptive causal thinking associated with dysfunctional mindsets. These cognitive interventions assist individuals to overcome personal challenges by replacing self-defeating cognitions with those that produce adaptive cognitions, emotions, motivation, and behavior. In failure-prone youth, for example, AR engenders positive changes in causal thinking and emotional well-being which then augments motivation, goal striving, and performance. In practical terms, AR benefits students in their academic development several years post AR treatment as reflected in emotional well-being, goal-striving, course withdrawals, GPA, and times-to-graduation. Similarly, people suffering the vicissitudes of old age adjust more positively to onerous life circumstances following an AR treatment.

        Whether studying young adults coping with failure, people who denigrate others for being different, older adults encountering age-related cognitive and physical deficits, or faculty members struggling in their academic careers, my research stresses the role of psychological mindsets in life course adaptation and how people deal with challenges in social, health, and competitive achievement settings (see representative publications).

Representative Publications

  Causal Attributions, Emotion, and Motivation Treatments

Parker, P. C., Perry, R. P., Chipperfield, J. G., Hamm, J. M., & Pekrun, R. (2018). An attribution-based motivation treatment for low control students who are bored in online learning environments. Motivation Science, 393-401. doi:10.1037/mot0000081 Full Article Here

Hamm, J. M., Perry, R. P, Chipperfield, J. G., Murayama, K. Weiner, B. (2017). Attribution-based motivation treatment efficacy in an online learning environment for students who differ in cognitive elaboration. Motivation and Emotion, 41(5), 600-616. doi:10.1007/s11031-017-9632-8 Full Article Here

Perry, R. P. & Hamm, J. M. (2017). An attribution perspective on competence and motivation: Theory and application. In A. Elliot, C. Dweck, & D. Yeager (Eds.), Handbook of Competence and Motivation (2nd Edition): Theory and Applications (pp. 61-84). New York: Gilford Press. Full Chapter Here

Pekrun, R. & Perry R. P. (2014). Control-Value theory of achievement emotions. In R. Pekrun & L. Linnenbrink-Garcia (Eds.), International Handbook of Emotions in Education, (pp.120-141). New York: Taylor & Francis, Routledge.

Perry, R. P., Chipperfield, J. G., Hladkyj, S., Pekrun, R., & Hamm, J. (2014). Attribution-based treatment interventions in achievement settings. In S. Karabenick and T. Urdan (Eds.). Motivational Treatments: Advances in Motivation and Achievement (Vol. 18, pp. 1-35). Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Full Chapter Here

Perry, R. P., Stupnisky, R.H, Hall, N. C., Chipperfield, J. G., & Weiner, B. (2010). Bad starts and better finishes: Attributional retraining and initial performance in competitive achievement settings. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29(6), 668-700. doi:10.1521/jscp.2010.29.6.668 Full Article Here

Daniels, L. M., Stupnisky, R. H., Pekrun, R., Haynes, T. L., Perry, R. P., & Newall, N. E. (2009). A longitudinal analysis of achievement goals: From affective antecedents to emotional effects and achievement outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 948-963. doi:10.1037/a0016096 Full Article Here

Perry, R. P., Hall, N. C., & Ruthig, J. C. (2005). Perceived (academic) control and scholastic attainment in higher education. In J. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 20, pp. 363-436). The Netherlands: Springer Publishers. Full Chapter Here

Perry, R. P. (2003). Perceived (academic) control and causal thinking in achievement settings. Canadian Psychology/ Psychologie Canadienne, 44(4), 312-331. Full Article Here

Perry, R. P., Hladkyj, S., Pekrun, R.H., & Pelletier, S. T. (2001). Academic control and action control in the achievement of college students: A longitudinal field study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 776-789.
Full Article Here

Perry, R. P., & Penner, K. S. (1990). Enhancing academic achievement in college students through attributional retraining and instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 262-271. Full Article Here

Weiner, B., Perry, R. P., & Magnusson, J. (1988). An attributional analysis of reactions to stigmas. Journal of      Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 738-748. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.55.5.738 Full Article Here

  Health and Aging

Chipperfield, J. G., Hamm, J. M., Perry, R. P., & Ruthig, J. C. (2017). Perspectives on studying perceived control in the 21st century. In M. D. Robinson & M. Eid (Eds.), The happy mind: Cognitive contributions to well-being (pp. 215-234). New York, NY: Springer. Full Chapter Here

Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., Hamm, J. M., Pekrun, R., & Lang, F. R. (2017). Paradoxical effects of perceived control on survival. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Science. Full Article Here

Hamm, J. M., Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., Parker, P. C., & Heckhausen, J. (2017). Tenacious self-reliance in health maintenance may jeopardize late life survival. Psychology and Aging, 32(7), 628-635. doi: 10.1037/pag0000201 Full Article Here

Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., & Stewart, T. L. (2016).  Perceived Control. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (2nd ed). San Diego: Academic Press.

Stewart, T. L., Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., & Weiner, B. (2012). Attributing illness to ‘old age’: Consequences of a self-directed stereotype for health and mortality. Psychology and Health, 27(8), 881-897. doi:10.1080/08870446.2011.630735 Full Article Here

Hall, N. C., Chipperfield, J. G., Heckhausen, J., Perry, R. P. (2010) Control striving in older adults with serious health problems: A 9-year longitudinal study of survival, health, and well-being. Psychology and Aging, 25(2), 432-445. doi:10.1037/a0019278 Full Article Here

  Higher Education and Faculty Careers

Stupnisky, R. H., Perry, R. P., Renaud, R. D., & Hladkyj, S. (2012). Looking beyond grades: Comparing self-esteem and perceived control as predictors of first-year college students’ well-being. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 513-530. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2012.07.008

Haynes, T. L., Perry, R. P., Stupnisky, R. H., & Daniels, L. M. (2009). A review of Attributional Retraining treatments: Fostering engagement and persistence in vulnerable college students. In J. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 24, pp. 229-275). The Netherlands: Springer Publishers.
Full Chapter Here

Perry, R. P., & Smart, J. (Eds.) (2007). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 830). The Netherlands: Springer Publishers.

Perry, R. P., Menec, V. H., & Struthers, C. W. (1999).  Feeling in control. In R. Menges and associates (Eds.), Faculty in new jobs, (pp. 186-215). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Perry, R. P., & Smart, J. (Eds.). (1997). Effective teaching in higher education: Research and practice. New York, NY: Agathon.

Perry, R. P. (1990, Editor). Instruction in higher education. Journal of Educational Psychology (Special Edition), 82, 183-274.

Psychology Department

University of Manitoba