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Motivation Mojo

How to use the psychology of science to spur scientific excellence

Ted Agres
<figcaption> Credit: JAE SHIM / GETTY IMAGES</figcaption>
Credit: JAE SHIM / GETTY IMAGES

The scientific method has been thoroughly studied, but relatively little research has been done into why some scientists achieve great recognition while others remain relatively undistinguished. Enter the psychology of science. "Scientific behavior, interest, talent, and achievement stem from basic topics of focus in the field of psychology," says Gregory J. Feist, a lecturer in psychology at the University of California, Davis. "Simply put, there is a psychology behind science."

In his latest book, The Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific Mind (Yale University Press, 2006), Feist identifies some predictors for lifetime achievement and eminence: self-confidence, openness, tolerance, and an exceptional amount of motivation. Feist says encouraging these qualities will not only lead to future stars, but also more productive labs. Here are tips from Feist and others to motivate younger researchers to achieve greatness.

Five Tips for Getting the Most...

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