Erika A. Patall

  • Associate Professor of Education

Research Concentration

  • Educational Psychology


PhD, Social Psychology, Duke University, 2009 

BA, Psychology, McGill University, 2003


  • Motivation • Autonomy Support • Choice Provision • Student Agency • Need Support • Education Practices • Research Synthesis • Meta-Analysis
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Erika A. Patall

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Erika A. Patall is an Associate Professor of Education and Psychology in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Her areas of expertise include the nature and determinants and development of motivation, education practices that support motivation and achievement, and research synthesis methods. Dr. Patall has published numerous articles in education and psychology journals such as Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Educational Psychology, Review of Educational Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Psychological Methods, and Educational Psychology Review, among others. She has been awarded grants from the William T. Grant Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences (IES), National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and others. Dr. Patall currently is an associate editor for the Journal of Educational Psychology and serves on the editorial boards for Psychological Bulletin, Educational Psychologist, American Psychologist, Journal of Personality, Motivation Science, and Educational Psychology Review. Dr. Patall was the recipient of the 2018 American Psychological Association Richard Snow Award for Early Contributions (Division 15, Educational Psychology), the 2015 American Educational Research Association Division C (Learning and Instruction) Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award, and the 2010 Early Career Award from the Out-of-School Time special interest group of the American Educational Research Association. She was a co-recipient of the American Educational Research Association Review of Research Award in 2007. Dr. Patall has previously held appointments at The University of Texas at Austin, where she served as faculty from 2010 to 2016. She received her Bachelors in Psychology at McGill University in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Duke University in 2009.

Awards and Grants

2018, American Psychological Association, Divison 15 (Educational Psychology) Richard E. Snow Award for Early Contributions

2015, American Educational Research Association, Division C (Learning and Instruction) Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award

2010, Emerging Scholar Award (Early Career Category), American Educational Research Association, Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group

2007, American Educational Research Association Review of Research Award

Courses Taught

GESM 161g Mind, Belief, and Behavior, Learning about Learning: A Seminar in Quantitative Reasoning.

EDUC 712 Issues in Human Motivation

EDUC 210 Breaking the Code of College Success

EDUC 684 Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

2017- present: Associate Professor, University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education

2016: Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Educational Psychology

2010-2016: Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Educational Psychology


Dr. Erika A. Patall is interested in the interface between social psychological theory and education. Most broadly, Dr. Patall studies the determinants and development of motivation and the relationship between motivation and academic achievement. She has most frequently focused on how the provision of choice and other supports for autonomy and student agency may impact motivation and support various achievement related outcomes. She is also interested in how school time and the activities of children outside of school influence their academic achievement, including activities such as parent involvement in schoolwork. Finally, Dr. Patall is interested in the development and use of research synthesis methods in social science research.


2019-2022, co-PI, NSF, Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Refutation Materials for Promoting Conceptual Change in STEM

2018-2020, PI, Spencer Foundation, Development of an Intervention to Promote Agentic Engagement in STEM High School Classrooms

2016-2018, PI, Institute of Education Sciences, A Research Synthesis of the Effects of Classroom Structure on Student Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement