Elliot Berkman, Department of Psychology

Elliot Berkman, expert in motivation, self-control, and addiction and assistant professor of psychology

Elliot Berkman

Co-Director, Center for Translational Neuroscience
Director, Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory
Divisional Associate Dean, Natural Sciences
Practice Areas: Mental Health, Addiction, Self-Control, Obesity, Goals, Smoking Cessation

Faculty bio | Center for Translational Neuroscience | Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory (541) 346-4909 | Twitter

Elliot Berkman studies the motivational and cognitive factors that contribute to success and failure at health goals such as cigarette smoking cessation and dieting. His research leverages the distinct strengths of several research methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging, longitudinal survey methods, and laboratory experiments. According to his research, it is not a lack of self-control that urges us to eat that midnight snack. His paper on ego depletion found that self-control is not a limitless resource that runs dry as the day goes on. He has also studied the impact of marijuana use on the brains of children and young adults. This work adopts a translational neuroscience approach by using knowledge of brain function, structure, and connectivity to design and improve interventions on health behavior and wellbeing. Projects in the lab are currently funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He directs the Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Psychology.

Recent Media: 
New Year’s Resolution Planner: 50 fresh ideas to help you make bold moves in 2024 (NPR, Dec. 26, 2023)
Your Primitive Brain Doesn't Want You to Break Bad Habits. Science Can Help (Newsweek Magazine, Feb. 8, 2023)
Time is fleeting. Here's how to stay on track with New Year's goals (NPR, Jan. 2, 2023)
The science of habits (Freethink, Nov. 25, 2022)
5 psychology-backed strategies to build better habits (Inverse, July 24, 2021)
The science of habits (Knowable Magazine, July 15, 2021)
Worried your employees have had too much change? Think again (Human Resource Executive, Nov. 16, 2020)
Neuroscience could be the key to getting people to wear masks (Wired, July 23, 2020)
Stop touching my face? Why the easiest way to prevent coronavirus is so hard. (The Washington Post, March 3, 2020)
Brain-based tips for sticking to New Year’s resolutions (Around the O, Dec. 30, 2019)
Scientists identify a personality feature that could predict how often you exercise (Association for Psychological Science, Sept. 20, 2019)
How to make your New Year's resolution stick, according to psychologists (NBC News, Dec. 29, 2018)
5 science-approved ways to break a bad habit (TIME, Aug. 28, 2018)
Pink Starbursts and brownie edges: How our quirky preferences are driving the future of snacking (The Washington Post, May 18, 2018)
Teens aren’t just risk machines – there’s a method to their madness (The Conversation, Feb. 6, 2018)
Healthy choices are neither good or bad; only thinking makes them so (The Conversation, Sept. 27, 2017)
The reason you're so tired after work has hardly anything to do with your actual job (Business Insider, July 6, 2017)
How to break the habit of checking your phone all the time (.Mic, Jan. 4, 2017)
Your ultimate guide to conquering any and every goal (Shape Magazine, Dec. 26, 2016)
It’s not unusual to get your dream job – and then hate it (BBC, Nov. 25, 2016)
The myth of self-control (Vox, Nov. 3, 2016)
5 science-backed tips for actually achieving your goals (The Week, May 13, 2016)
Are you being exploited by online marketers using "tricks for clicks"? (TechRepublic, May 12, 2016)
Elliot Berkman, University of Oregon – How Poverty Reduces Self-Control (Academic Minute, March 29, 2016)
Psychological tips for resisting the Internet’s grip (The Conversation, March 1, 2016)
New video game aims to help kids with ADHD (CBS News, Jan. 25, 2016)
Lend me your eyes - Then we'll sync brains (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 21, 2016)
The psychological origins of procrastination – and how we can stop putting things off (The Conversation, Oct. 7, 2015)
It's not a lack of self-control that keeps people poor (The Conversation, Sept. 22, 2015)
Study finds social interaction before economic transactions raises fairness (Around the O, April 20, 2015)
The one thing all people with strong self-control understand (Quartz, April 8, 2015)
Data overload: Is the ‘qualified self’ really the future? (NBC News, Aug. 31, 2014)
Did Facebook hurt people’s feelings? (The New Yorker, July 2, 2014)
Dr. Elliot Berkman, University of Oregon – benefits of brain training (WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Feb. 27, 2014)
To achieve your goals, learn how to hack your brain (Fast Company, Oct. 10, 2012)