Matthew T. Riccio graduated from New York University in May of 2012, Magna Cum Laude, with a major in Psychology and minor in Social Work. He was a four-year varsity starter and three-year team-captain for the university’s golf team, and a 2011-2012 Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Award recipient. He was named to the Dean’s List, Student- Athlete Academic Honor Roll, and Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee Honor Roll in every semester while at NYU. Additionally, Matthew was a 2011-2012 Collegiate Research Scholar and Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund Award Recipient. At NYU, Matthew worked with Assistant Professor of Psychology Emily Balcetis and the Social Perception, Action, & Motivation Lab. He is currently serving as Lab Manager & Study Coordinator for Professor Niall Bolger & the Columbia University Couples Lab and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. He is interested in social perception, self-regulation, motivation, volition, feelings of self-efficacy, and the influence of social relationships on action and emotions, particularly with regards to how these factors affect health-related behaviors.


What sparked your interest in psychology? What led you to this topic? Did you have a mentor and how did you get involved with him/her?
For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the conscious and unconscious underpinnings that shape and guide motivations, goals, and behaviors, and, in particular, the processes that influence action (and interaction). While this general curiosity guided me to the field of psychology, it was not until taking a course with Assistant Professor of Psychology Emily Balcetis that I truly discovered my passion for Social Psychology and psychological research. I cannot thank Emily enough for serving not just as a research advisor but also as a true mentor, role model, and friend, guiding and supporting me with this line of research and much, much more.

How long have you been working on this paper? What has the process been like for you? What was it like to be an undergraduate student completing your own research project?
By the time this manuscript is published, I will have been working on this paper, in one form or another, for over two years. While grueling at times, the process in general has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Conducting research with Professor Emily Balcetis, Shana Cole, Yael Granot, and the rest of NYU’s Social Perception, Action, & Motivation Lab has been an honor and a pleasure, and is an experience I will not forget for the rest of my time as a researcher in the field of Social Psychology.