Jocelyn Bélanger’s research interests focus on understanding the nature and process of goal-pursuit. Given that goals permeate human affairs, his research interests extend over a wide range of areas in social cognition including automatic goal-pursuit, belief formation, and self-regulation.
His current work seeks to understand why, and under which circumstances, individuals are willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause. Additionally, his research examines how we can redirect these motivational forces in a constructive direction, paving the way to conciliation, conflict resolution, and harmony in intergroup relations. This interdisciplinary topic has led him to collaborate on several international large-scale projects, funded by the American Department of Defense, examining the motivational underpinnings of radicalization and deradicalization among terrorists located in the Middle-East and South-East Asia. In 2015, he was appointed by the City of Montreal to create the first deradicalization center in North America to tackle homegrown terrorism.
Dr. Bélanger is the recipient of several awards such as the APA Dissertation Research Award and the Guy Bégin Award for the Best Research Paper in Social Psychology. His research is also funded by the Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as well as Public Safety Canada. He is a member of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Bélanger is also the author of numerous scientific articles published in top-tier journals of his discipline including American Psychologist, Psychological Review, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He earned his master's degree and doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.