Current research interests

My current research focuses on five key topics.

  1. How can policy makers make better make use of behavioural and social sciences?
    Although various national and international institutions have been interested in better using so called “behavioural insights” in designing better policies, few researchers to date have studied the attitude and behaviour change of the policy makers while adopting the perspectives of social psychology and other social sciences. My group is doing this in 2022.
  2. How can we use behaviour change theories to improve interaction behaviours?
    In several service professions, including social work and teaching, being more kind, dialogical and empowering results in better interaction atmosphere and concrete positive results in those that are helped. However, changing these motivating communication styles is difficult, with meta-analyses showing a fraction of trained professionals retaining motivating skills on the long-term. So far, no research exists that would explore the uses of social psychological theories of behaviour change in enhancing such training programs. My group is doing this in 2021-22.
  3. Could complexity science prove to be a useful paradigm for attitude and behaviour change research – and how?
    Our current theories – and particularly empirical quantitative evaluation of them – are largely are driven by linear and reductionist thinking. Our group has started to explore whether drawing on complexity science methodologies and theoretical concept to improve on our understanding of how and why change occurs.
  4. What are the secrets to self-motivation? How can we shield ourselves from dysfunctional, de-motivating social environments at work?
    While social environments influence motivation of individuals, people are not determined by their social environments. In a series of quantitative, qualitative and expert-consensus-methodology studies, we have investigated the interplay of various self-motivational strategies and quality of motivation, in the work and leadership context.
  5. What are keys to supporting behaviour change toward better well-being? The science of motivation, interaction, and behaviour change involves also studying processes in relation to mental wellbeing (e.g. work motivation, stress management) and physical health behaviours (e.g. healthy diet).
    • What processes characterise successful long-term, sustainable behaviour change?
    • What are the best strategies to change motivation and behaviour – and what multi-methodology strategies are suitable for investigating it?

Ongoing research projects (as PI):

Past projects:

  • Self-management of motivation; Academy research project 2016-20
  • Understanding mechanisms of behaviour change in interventions to promote well-being, Academy of Finland Research Fellowship 2015-20
  • Behaviour Change Science & Policy 2019-20 (Argumenta project, Finnish Cultural Foundation)
  • Dissemination and implementation of evidence-based strategies to promote physical activity; Academy of Finland, key project 2016-18
  • Development of a theory-based behaviour change intervention to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour (OKM, STM), 2012-15
  • Evaluation of the Let’s Move It intervention in a field RCT (OKM), 2015-17
    • My team has systematically developed the Let’s Move It intervention to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary time in vocational schools. Our evidence synthesis phase (ALiAS Evidence Synthesis Phase) informed intervention development but also produced a number of research publications.

Past research:

  • My talk in PopHealth event (2014) gives a popularized overview of the research topics that our group in Helsinki University was then interested.

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