Kou Murayama


What motivates us? What increases our motivation and what dampens it? The psychologist Kou Murayama explores these questions with a particular eye to learning processes. With astonishing results: When it comes to learning maths, in the long term, motivation is more important than intelligence was the conclusion Murayama and colleagues came to in a study that garnered wide international acclaim. In his work, Murayama addresses a host of aspects that are of crucial importance to educational research: the influence of the family, of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for learning achievements, the role of competition, curiosity and interests. Another of Murayama’s highly regarded studies showed that children’s learning performance is measurably poorer when parents have too high, unachievable expectations. He is viewed internationally as one of the driving forces behind the continued development of motivation research, which is partly due to combining approaches from multiple disciplines ranging from education, social science and developmental psychology to neuroscience. Murayama’s data sources are also considered to be especially diverse. He draws on psychological experiments as well as longitudinal and neuroimaging studies.

With its university and non-university research institutes, the University of Tübingen already has a very broadly established portfolio in educational science with a focus on the intersection of educational practice and research. Murayama’s appointment as a Humboldt Professor aims to expand educational research yet further and intensify its interdisciplinary approach.

Kou Murayama has been selected for the Humboldt Professorship and will now embark on appointment negotiations with the German university that nominated him. If the negotiations succeed, the award will be conferred in 2021.

Nominating University: University of Tübingen

Prof. Dr. Kou Murayama

was born in Japan where he attended university and took his doctorate. Since 2013, he has been working at the University of Reading, United Kingdom, where he is a research professor and head of the Motivation Science Lab that he himself founded. He previously spent time conducting research in the United States and Germany, amongst others as a Humboldt Research Fellow at LMU Munich and a visiting professor at the University of Tübingen. Kou Murayama has received numerous honours for his research, including awards from the American Psychological Association and the Japanese Psychological Association.