Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Motivation and Self-Regulationand Health Behavior Promotion

Paula Magalhaes (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)

Invited Paper



Biography:Paula Magalhães is a researcher at the Psychology Research Center, Universidade do Minho, Portugal. She earned her PhD in Psychology in 2014, focused on the experimental analysis of behavior, with animal models, at the University of Otago, New Zealand, under the supervision of Professor K. Geoffrey White. Since then, she has directed her efforts into an applied psychology research path. In 2014, she was invited to an Assistant Professor position, at Universidade do Minho, and, later on, received Post-Doctoral training at the same university focusing on developing and implementing intervention programs aiming at promoting self-regulation skills via the use of story-tools/ narratives. Her current research focuses on health behavior promotion through self-regulation (e.g., healthy eating, sleep, exercise). She is also interested in the use of Gamification to engage individuals in health behavior interventions. She has already been awarded a research grant as a PI on these topics “In-person and Online Healthy Eating Promotion through Self-regulation: Assessing the Efficacy of a Narrative-based Intervention.”



Health behavior promotion in childhood has been dominated by knowledge-centered paradigms. However, research shows that beliefs about what is healthy have a stronger influence on behavior than factual knowledge. Motivation and self-regulation frameworks highlight the agent role of the individual in controlling the personal, behavioral, and environmental influences that impact one’s behavior. Although individuals may be influenced and regulated by external factors and agents, exclusively relying on external regulation does not allow the individual to develop adaptive competences and skills, such as choosing a healthy snack. The aim of this presentation is to describe how healthy habits in childhood can be promoted, including diet and sleep, through the modelling of self-regulation skills via story-tools/narrative-based programs.


Modifed by Eddie Soh