Kristy A. Robinson

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Kristy A. Robinson
Contact Information

PROSPECTIVE STUDENT APPLICANTS (MA, PhD), please see my lab website, including FAQ for prospective students:

Education Building, Room 514

Email address: 
kristy.robinson [at]
Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

I have two primary lines of inquiry. In the first line of research, I investigate developmental patterns of specific motivational constructs such as identity, interest, and competence beliefs during adolescence and early adulthood. I use variable-oriented (e.g., examining means and relations between variables on average) and person-oriented perspectives (e.g., examining naturally occurring “profiles” of variables or growth patterns) to document both average declines and heterogeneity in trajectories of these constructs. My research contributes essential theoretical and practical understanding of who, specifically, experiences declines, which forms of motivation are more or less malleable, and why individuals might experience different developmental patterns. This understanding is needed for developing interventions, for example to understand whether an intervention should be administered to all students or only to subgroups. 

Relatedly, students’ complex emotional experiences play a key role in their academic engagement and achievement. While most research on emotions has examined single emotions, controlling for other emotions, my research delves into students’ lived experiences at a more granular level, contributing to our understanding of how emotions co-occur within individuals and relate to motivational predictors and achievement-related outcomes. Using structural equation modeling and profile analysis, these studies directly test control-value theory’s central propositions while extending theory to account for complex emotional experiences. This work has implications for understanding which emotions are most facilitative in the classroom, as well as how these emotions can be supported. 

My second line of research focuses on theoretically guided classroom interventions that support students’ motivation and identity development. Introductory STEM courses can “make or break” students’ competence beliefs, feelings of belonging, and sense of identity. To mitigate early declines in motivation, I combine student- and a teacher-focused intervention approaches, helping instructors incorporate motivationally supportive practices into their everyday instruction. This work employs a paradigm that considers motivation to be a contextualized, dynamic, and interconnected system working within and between students.

The goal of these two lines of research is to advance motivation theory to inform effective and equitable instructional support for students’ pursuit of their academic goals, particularly for students who have been traditionally underserved in education.


Learning Sciences


Ph.D., Michigan State University, Educational Psychology and Educational Technology

B.S., Brigham Young University, Psychology

Research areas: 
Areas of expertise: 
  • heterogeneous trajectories of identity and motivation
  • emotion profiles in STEM settings
  • motivationally supportive classroom practices
  • longitudinal structural equation modeling
Current research: 

Identity Trajectories for College Students in STEM
Exploring heterogeneous science identity trajectories and their correlates in the short- and long-term from an expectancy-value theory perspective.

Mixed Emotions and Why They Matter in the Classroom
Identifying patterns of emotions in three unique STEM classroom settings and how profiles relate to motivation, academic engagement, and achievement.

Increasing Opportunity through Classroom Supports for Motivation and Identity Development
Working with instructors to incorporate motivationally supportive practices into their instruction and facilitate multiple opportunities for optimal motivation through a randomized field experiment.

Selected publications: 

For the most up-to-date list of publications, see Kristy's Google Scholar profile at

Robinson, K. A. (2023). Motivational climate theory: Disentangling definitions and roles of classroom motivational support, climate, and microclimates. Educational Psychologist, 58(2), 92-110.

Beymer, P. N., & Robinson, K. A. (2022). Motivating by measuring motivation? Examining reactivity in a daily diary study on student motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 70, 102072.

*Lee, S. Y., *Graham, L. R., *Friedman, S. N., *Christiaans, E. R., & Robinson, K. A. (2022). Valuable but costly? University students’ expectancy-value-cost profiles in introductory chemistry courses. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 69, 102056.

Robinson, K. A., *Lee, S. Y., *Friedman, S., *Christiaans, E., McKeague, M., Pavelka, L., & Sirjoosingh, P. (2022). You know what, I can do this: Heterogeneous joint trajectories of expectancy and attainment value in chemistry. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 69, 102055.

Robinson, K. A., *Lira, K., Walton, S. P., Briedis, D., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2022). Instructional supports for motivation trajectories in introductory college engineering. AERA Open, 8(1), 1-18.

Robinson, K. A., Lee, Y., Bovee, E. A., Perez, T., Walton, S. P., Briedis, D., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2019). Motivation in transition: Development and roles of expectancy, task values, and costs in early college engineering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111, 1081-1102.

Robinson, K. A., Perez, T., Carmel, J. H., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2019). Science identity development trajectories in a gateway college chemistry course: Predictors and relations to achievement and STEM pursuit. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 180-192.

Robinson, K. A., Perez, T., Nuttall, A. K., Roseth, C. J., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2018). From science student to scientist: Predictors and outcomes of heterogeneous science identity trajectories in college. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1977-1992.

Robinson, K. A., Ranellucci, J., Lee, Y.-K., Wormington, S. V., Roseth, C. J., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2017). Affective profiles and academic success in a college anatomy course. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 51, 209-221.

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