Mark Muraven grew up in Albany, New York and has never lived more than 15 minutes away from Interstate 90 in the northeast. His first move was three hours west on I-90 to the University of Rochester. Initially a physics major, his compulsive eating of Little Debbie snack cakes sparked an interested in failures of self-control and the role of emotions and motivation in self-regulation.

He decided that the best place to learn about emotions and self-control was in Cleveland. Hence, he moved five hours west on I-90 to study with Roy Baumeister and Dianne Tice at Case Western Reserve University. While there, he helped develop a model of self-control failure based on a limited strength model that has become his primary line of research. In particular, this model predicts that exerting self-control depletes a limited resource needed for self-control. Individuals lower in this resource perform more poorly on self-control tasks. Thus, individuals may fail at self-control because their self-control strength has been used up in prior tasks. For example, when placed in a situation that called for alcohol regulation, social drinkers who exerted self-control in the first part of the experiment consumed more alcohol and were more intoxicated than individuals who did not exert self-control.

After graduating with a Ph.D. in social psychology in 1998, he wanted to experience applying the model and to further develop his interests in motivation and emotion. Lorraine Collins at the Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo offered a perfect opportunity to enter a very fruitful collaboration and learn more about addictions. So, he then shuffled off to Buffalo (3 hours east on I-90). He worked with Lorraine Collins applying his self-control strength model and research on motivation to her alcohol restraint theory.

In 2000, he got an offer he couldn’t refuse and took a job as a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany. Thus, he moved five hours east on I-90 to his hometown. Despite his fervent promise at the end of high school to never return and applying to jobs all around the county, he now lives three miles away from where he grew up. He is continuing his research on self-control and the role of emotions and motivation in addictive disorders.  He married a who was friends with his sister in high school and lives with his two kids, Anya and Samson, and a dog. He still eats too many Little Debbie snacks. For people interested in his academic record, his vita can be found here.