Dr. Kristy A. Robinson

Assistant Professor
Dr. Kristy A. Robinson
Contact Information
Email address: 
kristy.robinson [at] mcgill.ca

Education Building
3700 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y2

Educational and Counselling Psychology (ECP)
Areas of expertise: 
  • Achievement motivation
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Teaching practices
  • STEM education
  • Adolescence and early adulthood

Dr. Robinson's program of research focuses on understanding and supporting positive trajectories of achievement motivation, including students’ identities, values, and competence beliefs. Her investigations of motivational development and interventions to support motivation are aimed at expanding opportunities for diverse students in STEM fields through research that bridges theory and practice.

Dr. Robinson has two primary lines of inquiry. In the first line of research, she 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. Her 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.

Her 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, she combines 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.

  • PhD, Educational Psychology and Educational Technology, USA
  • BS, Psychology, USA
Selected publications: 

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000331

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.01.004

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000567

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.08.004

Graduate supervision: 

Accepting students for 2023-24

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