Roy F. Baumeister PhDOn September 30, 2011, we had a wonderful interview with renowned, influential social psychologist, Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.




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Roy F. Baumeister is the Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.

He is internationally known for his research in social psychology that spans topics ranging from the human need to belong and the effects of rejection to how people seek to make their lives meaningful to the essence of the relationship between the individual and society.

In his latest book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strengths, Dr. Baumeister collaborates with New York Times science writer John Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted human virtue: self-control.

In what became one of the most cited papers in social science literature, Dr. Baumeister discovered that willpower actually operates like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse.

In Baumeister’s latest research on self-control, he shows that we typically spend four hours every day resisting temptation.

A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Baumeister did graduate work at the University of Heidelberg, took a M.A. in psychology at Duke University, and received his Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Princeton in 1978.

After holding a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied personality and social structure, he joined the psychology faculty at Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor in 1979.

He was named a full professor a decade later and awarded the E. Smith Professorship in the Liberal Arts in 1992, a post he held until accepting his present chair at Florida State in 2003.

Dr. Baumeister has been a visiting associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute in Munich and at the University of Virginia, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the John Templeton Foundation. An elected fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, he has just been honored with the Jack Block Award for lifetime career achievement by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In January 2012, he will receive the International Society for Self and Identity Lifetime Career Award.

Dr. Baumeister has over 400 publications (including 27 books).

According to the Institute for Scientific Information, his research has been cited over ten thousand times by other scientists, making him one of the most influential social psychologists in the world. Dr. Baumeister’s research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and by the Templeton Foundation. He and Brad Bushman have recently authored a social psychology textbook, Social Psychology and Human Nature.

Dr. Baumeister was born in Cleveland, the son of an immigrant businessman and a schoolteacher. He now lives by a small lake in Tallahassee with his wife and colleague, Dianne Tice. In his (very rare) spare time, he enjoys windsurfing, playing jazz guitar, and composing music on the piano.


Baumeister Losing Control

Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation
by Roy F. Baumeister , T.F. Heatherton, & Diane Tice

Baumeister- Evil

Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty
by Roy F. Baumeister Ph.D., Aaron Beck

Baumeister-Meanings of Life

Meanings of Life
by Roy F. Baumeister


Psychology Today Blog: “The Cultural Animal: How We Find Meaning in Life

  • The Reality of the Male Sex Drive
  • Do the Laws of Physics Permit Any Exceptions?
  • Determinism is NOt Just Causality
  • Just Exactly What is Determinism?
  • Should Football Penalize Celebrating and Taunting?
  • Why I Don’t Vote
  • Sex and Politicians
  • Is there anything good about men?
  • Not all reality is physical
  • Why Does Money Matter? The Psychological Meaning of Money



Florida State Website
Baumeister &I Tice Social Psychology Lab
Florida State Profile
Wikipedia Biography
Social Psychology Network
The New York Times Review of Willpower by Steven Pinker, Ph.D.
How to Learn Self-Control
The New York Times: “Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?”
Summary of the book, “Willpower”
Publications 1988-2000
Publications 2000-Present
Publications available as PDF

Other works by Dr. Baumeister

  • A partial list of books by Dr. Baumeister
  • Your Own Worst Enemy: Understanding the Paradox of Self-Defeating Behavior
  • Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty
  • Social Psychology and Human Nature
  • Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation
  • The Social Dimension of Sex
  • Breaking Hearts: The Two Sides of Unrequited Love
  • Masochism and the Self
  • Identity: Cultural Change and the Struggle for Self
  • Escaping the Self: Alcoholism, Spirituality, Masochism, and Other Flights from the Burden of Selfhood
  • Meanings of life
  • The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life
  • Self in Social Psychology: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology)
  • Encyclopedia of Social Psychology (2 Volume Set)
  • Masochism and the Self
  • Social Psychology and Human Sexuality: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology)
  • Self-Esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-Regard (The Plenum Series in Social/Clinical Psychology)
  • Public Self and Private Self (Springer Series in Social Psychology)
  • Handbook of Self-Regulation: Research, Theory, and Applications research
  • Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men
  • Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work?
  • Advanced Social Psychology: The State of the Science

Second or third co-editor in scientific collections:

  • Psychology of Self-Regulation: Cognitive, Affective, and Motivational Processes (Sydney Symposium in Social Psychology)
  • Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs
  • Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making?: A Hedgefoxian Perspective
  • Time and Decision: Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Intertemporal Choice
  • Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will
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