(514) 398-6110

2001 McGill College, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G1, Room 1456


Dr. Richard Koestner



          Richard Koestner is a professor of Psychology at McGill University where he has conducted research on human motivation for 25 years. Richard received his PhD from the University of Rochester where he worked with Ed Deci and Richard Ryan on research related to self-determination theory. He also worked with Miron Zuckerman on research related to personality. He subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University and Boston University where he worked with David McClelland on research related to implicit motives.


           Richard has published over 125 scientific articles and his recent work focuses on the importance of autonomy in the effective pursuit of personal goals. Twenty of Richard's PhD students have successfully graduated with PhD's.

Richard received the 2007 Canadian Psychological Association award for excellence in teaching and training. He subsequently won Principal's Prize for excellence in teaching from McGill University (2008).




Postdoctoral Fellows

Doctoral Students

Dr. Anne Holding, Ph.D.


        Dr. Anne Holding is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Koestner. She received her B.A. in Psychology (Honours) from McGill University in 2013. Currently, Anne is pursuing two lines of research. The first focuses on discovering how we successfully  disengage from unfruitful or unattainable goals. In particular, Anne is interested to examine whether autonomous motivation for goal disengagement facilitates the disengagement process. Currently, Anne is collaborating with Sport Canada to discover how elite athletes successfully discengage from their athletic careers in retirement.


        In a second line of research, Anne is studying the motivational antecedents to experiencing an action crisis in personal goal pursuit. Anne has found that experiencing autonomous motivation for goals is associated with less severe action crises.










Emily Moore, Ph.D. student


    Emily is currently in her sixth year of graduate studies in McGill's Clinical Psychology program, under the supervision of Dr. Richard Koestner. She received her B.A. in Honours Psychology from The University of British Columbia in 2015. Emily is currently pursuing research examining the relationship between self-critical perfectionism and goal pursuit. In particular, Emily is interested in investigating the factors that mediate the relationship. 









emily. moore3 (at)

2001 McGill College, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G1, Room 1430


Amanda Moore, Ph.D. Student


    Amanda is currently in her fourth year of graduate studies in the Clinical Psychology program at McGill. She graduated from McGill with a B.Sc. Honours Psychology degree in Winter 2016. As an undergraduate student, she completed two honours thesis project. First, she worked under the supervision of Dr. Blaine Ditto investigating the association between anxiety symptoms and arterial stiffness in young adults. Second, she worked under the supervision of Dr. Richard Koestner investigating the developmental correlates of the two types of perfectionism in children. 

Research Gate:








amanda.moore (at)

2001 McGill College, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G1, Room 1430



Shelby Levine, Ph.D. Student

Shelby is currently in her third year of graduate studies in the Clinical Psychology program at McGill University. She completed her M.A. in experimental psychology at Carleton University in April 2018 with Dr. Milyavskaya. Shelby studied the influence of perfectionism on mental health in the transition to university. Shelby also completed her undergraduate studies at Carleton University, and for her research project worked with Dr. Zelenski on how awe and nature can influence prosocial behaviour. Shelby's research program explores the collaborative nature of autonomy. How autonomy flourishes through collaboration in goal striving and how more collaborative individuals are able to gain support during goal pursuit and during crises. 

Research Gate:



2001 McGill College, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G1, Room 1430

Julie Leboeuf, Ph.D. Student 


Julie is currently in her first year of graduate studies in the Experimental Psychology program at McGill University. She graduated from Bishop’s University with a B.A. Honours Applied Psychology degree in June 2019. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the social and environmental cues that might influence aggressive responses in alcoholic contexts. After graduation, Julie completed a study abroad program at the University of Oxford in England where she studied Experimental Psychology.


As part of the McGill Human Motivation Lab, Julie is currently pursuing research on the relationship between intrinsic aspirations and well-being and how it can be affected by difficult life circumstances. Julie is also interested in researching the impact of integrative emotional regulation as it relates to Self-Determination Theory key concepts such as autonomy and goal progress. 


Research Gate: 



julie.leboeuf (at) 

2001 McGill College, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G1, Room 1430