Psychology of Willpower and Motivation

Course Description

This course will provide an overview of the science of willpower, what it is, and how it works. We will discuss psychological research on self-control, motivation, and willpower. You will learn how psychology and social and environmental factors influence self-control, why people often fail at self-control, and the role an environment full of temptations and distractions can play.

This course will include information that you can apply to their everyday life. You will become psychological scientists and participate in your own real-world study of willpower by choosing a willpower challenge from your own life to monitor during the course. As you learn practical strategies to help with motivation and self-control, you will conduct willpower experiments by testing these strategies and reporting what worked best.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe what willpower is, how it works, and why it fails
  • Explain several evidence-based strategies to improve self-control
  • Apply strategies when they want to make changes and accomplish their goals
  • Provide practical advice to improve motivation and self-control


There are no prerequisites for this course, but a strong interest or some background in the subject material is expected.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 4 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Mostly Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Cara Murphy
Course Number: 10115