Gabriele Oettingen, PhD

New York University & University of Hamburg


Dr. Oettingen is one of the world’s most respected motivation scientists. Her research focuses on “prospection,” which is how people think about the future. In her studies, she addresses how different types of prospection affect people’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behavior. She has pointed out the perils of positive thinking and discovered a motivation technique called “mental contrasting”—which is an imagery-based self-regulation strategy that draws on nonconscious processes to help people master challenges in their everyday life and achieve long-term objectives. Dr. Oettingen has published in journals of social, personality, developmental, educational, health, clinical, organizational, and consumer psychology, as well as in neuropsychological and medical journals. Her work led to the creation of effective and easy-to-apply behavior change interventions, and she is the author or coauthor of several books in the area of behavior change.


Try the Positive Voices newsletter

We get it, pop-ups are annoying. They aren't our favorite either. But, actually, that's the point: The Internet is full of distraction, and Positive Voices' content requires reflection. So why not get our messages straight to your inbox? You in?

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Free Download of our
“Science of Goal Achievement” Workbook

Learn scientifically validated strategies that have been shown to increase goal attainment by 150%

Your free eBook is on the way! Please check your email.