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Paul Karoly

Paul Karoly

Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Deparment of Psychology
Arizona State University
PO Box 871104
Tempe, AZ 85278-1104


  • Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Karoly's research focuses on the development and use of a cognitive-motivational perspective applied to normal and abnormal adjustment and to physical health and physical illness. The model, called the goal, self-regulatory, automatized social systems perspective (GRASSP), seeks to understand humans as self-regulating systems organized around explicit and implicit goals. The model focuses not only on the functional capacities of human self-regulating systems (such as attention, memory, monitoring of self and environment, etc.) but on the content, structure, and operational dynamics of goals themselves. The conceptual model is currently being applied across a variety of domains including:

  • Health psychology---exploring the role of self-regulatory systems in physical exercise and in adjustment to chronic pain; online self-management of chronic pain
  • Clinical psychology---exploring the goal/self-regulatory underpinnings of depression, anxiety, social phobia, college student drinking, ADHD, schizotypy, hypochondriasis, and others.
  • Experimental psychology---exploring the role of goal/regulatory systems in mental control, affect regulation, complex motor performance, decision-making and the like.
  • Clinical assessment--- exploring new methods for measuring self-regulatory processes and outcomes.
  • Personality---exploring a GRASSP version of “personality/identity/self” and morality
  • Educational psychology---exploring the role of goal systems in academic achievement and retention.
  • Vocational psychology---exploring a goal systems perspective on work behavior.

Research Projects

At present, Karoly is engaged in a series of studies assessing the relationship of social goals and their cognitive representation to outcomes such as: clinical depression, alcohol consumption, exercise behavior, social anxiety, and coping styles. These projects are carried out by undergraduates (senior thesis projects), graduate students, and cooperating faculty (particularly Dr. Morris Okun).


  • PhD, University of Rochester, 1971