Zoë Francis PhD
Beliefs and Self-Control Lab
University of the Fraser Valley
“I find I get my energy from doing the things I love… If you do the things you love, you don’t get tired!”
- Trevor Noah demonstrating a "non-limited" theory of willpower during an interview on the The Late Show
I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of the Fraser Valley. I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto with Dr. Michael Inzlicht and my undergraduate at the University of Alberta with Dr. Pete Hurd.
My research focuses on self-regulation, mental fatigue, and people's perceptions/lay beliefs of self-control. I use a variety of methods to test questions of self-regulation, including self-report (experience sampling, surveys), psychophysiological (EEG and EMG), and behavioural (in lab and "real-world"). Much of my research focuses on temporal dynamics of self-regulation: how self-control fluctuates across the course of a task, across the course of the day, or across multiple weeks.
I am particularly interested in the motivational factors that contribute to variability in self-control between people and across time – how do people’s expectations and beliefs affect their self-control outcomes? For example, I've found that people's beliefs about willpower (as limited or non-limited) predict how their health-goal behaviours change across the course of the day, and those same beliefs predict how willing and able people feel to provide social support to others.
Self-regulation research applies to many areas of life! I have examined self-regulation fluctuations and beliefs in relation to (i) health outcomes like snacking, physical activity, and gym attendance, (ii) interpersonal outcomes like prosocial behaviour, provision of support, and person-perception, and (iii) task performance and attention engagement. I continue to explore and model how these domains are dynamically affected by people's motivations and expectations.