Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Vallerand, Robert J.

  • Robert J. VallerandEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_2060-1

Early Life and Educational Background

Professor Robert J. Vallerand was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. He earned his B.Sc. from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (1977), the M.A. from McGill University (1979), and the Ph.D. from the Université de Montréal (1981) and conducted postdoctoral studies in experimental social psychology at the University of Waterloo (Canada) under the guidance of Professor Michael Ross.

Professional Career

Prof Vallerand has taught at the University of Guelph (1982–1983) and the Université du Québec à Montréal (1983–2013). After a year at McGill University (2013–2014), he returned to the Université du Québec à Montréal where, in addition to holding the Canada Research Chair, he directs the Research Laboratory on Social Behavior.

Professor Vallerand has held several administrative functions. He has served as chair of both the Psychology Department at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1991–1994) and the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University (2013–2014). In addition, he has served as president of the Quebec Society for Research in Psychology (1988–1991), the Canadian Psychological Association (2006–2007), and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) (2011–2013). He has also served or serves as consulting editor for several of the top international journals in the field, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Motivation and Emotion, Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research and Practice, the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, etc.

Student Supervision

Professor Vallerand has supervised to completion a number of students with a 100% graduation rate. Of the students he has supervised, 20 are now university professors across Canada and Europe. Several of his former students have served as either departmental chairs, deans, or conference chairs, and some have secured Canada research chairs. In addition, Professor Vallerand has supervised several honor students, and most have gone on to obtain a doctoral degree, and several have also become university professors. Former students outside of academia are involved in research in various capacities and in a number of contexts.


Professor Vallerand is recognized as a leading international expert on motivational processes. He has published seven books and over 300 scientific articles and book chapters. His research has been cited extensively (over 30,000 citations with an h-index of over 80), and he has received several millions ($) in research grants. Professor Vallerand has presented a number of International Keynote addresses and has given colloquia at more than 60 different universities. He has developed theories dealing with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, as well as passion for activities. His hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Vallerand 1997) integrates the social psychological and personality processes involved in intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. His dualistic model of passion (Vallerand 2015, Oxford University Press) represents the main contemporary theory on passion. Whereas harmonious passion (remaining in control of one’s passion) leads to adaptive effects, obsessive passion (losing control of one’s passion) leads to less positive, and at times maladaptive, outcomes. The effects of passion have been documented with respect to a variety of dimensions ranging from the intrapersonal (cognitions, affect, well-being, health, and performance) to the interpersonal (friendships and romantic relationships) and to the intergroup and societal consequences. Professor Vallerand has also developed a number of scales to assess motivation and passion in several contexts and languages. The Academic Motivation Scale, the Sport Motivation Scale, the Situational Motivation Scale, and the Passion Scale are the most popular ones. Finally, he is also well known for his research in positive psychology.

Honors and Awards

Professor Vallerand has received numerous awards and honors from over a dozen learned societies, including being elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association (as well as fellow of Divisions 8, 9, 20, and 47), the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Association of Applied Psychology, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the Royal Society of Canada, and many others. He has also received the Adrien Pinard Career Award from the Quebec Society for Research in Psychology, the Donald O. Hebb Career Award from the Canadian Psychological Association (the highest research awards in psychology in Quebec and Canada, respectively), and the Sport Science Award from the International Olympic Committee.


  1. Vallerand, R. J. (2015). The psychology of passion: a dualistic model. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bélanger, J., Lafrenière, M.-A., Vallerand, R. J., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2013). Driven by fear: the role of failure in passionate individuals’ performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 180–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Vallerand, R. J. (2013). Passion and optimal functioning in society: a eudaimonic perspective. In A. S. Waterman (Ed.), The best within us: positive psychology perspectives on eudaimonic functioning (pp. 183–206). Washington, DC: APA books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Vallerand, R. J. (2012). The role of passion in sustainable psychological well-being. Psychological Well-Being Theory, Research, and Practice, 2, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Vallerand, R. J. (2010). On passion for life activities: the dualistic model of passion. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 42, pp. 97–193). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Philippe, F. L., Vallerand, R. J., Houlfort, N., Lavigne, G., & Donahue, E. G. (2010). Passion for an activity and quality of interpersonal relationships: the mediating role of emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 917–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Vallerand, R. J., Blanchard, C. M., Mageau, G. A., Koestner, R., Ratelle, C., Léonard, M., Gagné, M., & Marsolais, J. (2003). Les passions de l’âme: on obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Vallerand, R. J. (1997). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 271–360). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Vallerand, R. J., Fortier, M. S., & Guay, F. (1997). Self-determination and persistence in a real-life setting: toward a motivational model of high school dropout. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1161–1176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Crown Copyright 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Quebec at MontrealMontrealCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Christopher J. Holden
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Carolina UniversityCullowheeUSA