Personality, Motivation, and Cognition Laboratory -- Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA)

at the Department of Psychology ,
Northwestern University

Scientific objectives:

  1. To gain an increased understanding of the ways in which personality and situational determinants of motivation combine to influence motivational states, and how these motivational states in turn affect cognitive processes to determine cognitive performance.
  2. To understand the structure of human personality at multiple levels of analysis, including within individual, between individual, and between self selected aggregates of individuals.


  1. Experimental studies of the effect of various motivational manipulations on cognitive performance.
  2. Web based data collection using Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA) techniques to examine the structure of large number of temperament, ability, and interest items from people around the world.
  3. Using other telemetric techniques to examine the structure of affect, cognition and desire as they relate to behavior within individuals across time.
  4. Development of open source programs and materials to facilitate these goals.

Selected SAPA publications and presentations

How to use the psych package: (A number of pdf tutorials on using the psych package.)

Version of October 15, 2020.