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Eric Klinger

Eric Klinger

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My research interests include personality and clinical psychology, especially the influences of motivation and emotion on cognition (including daydreaming and night dreaming), motivational theory, and applications to treatment of depression and alcoholism. My most recent writing projects focus on the goal theory of current concerns, motivational attributes and treatment of alcohol abusers, assessment of motivational structure, relationship of fantasy-proneness to psychopathology, and basic principles that govern mindwandering.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Social Cognition


  • Cox, W. M., & Klinger, E. (Eds.) (2011). Handbook of motivational counseling: Goal-Based Approaches to Assessment and Intervention in Addiction and Other Problems (2nd ed.). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Klinger, E. (1990). Daydreaming. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher (Putnam).
  • Klinger, E. (1977). Meaning and void: Inner experience and the incentives in people's lives. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Klinger, E. (1971). Structure and functions of fantasy. New York: Wiley.

Journal Articles:

  • Cox, W. M., Heinemann, A. W., Miranti, S. V., Schmidt, M., Klinger, E., & Blount, J. (2003). Outcomes of systematic motivational counseling for substance use following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 22, 93-110.
  • Cox, W. M., & Klinger, E. (2002). Motivational structure: Relationships with substance use and processes of change. Addictive Behaviors.
  • Cox, W. M., Schippers, G. M., Klinger, E., Skutle, A., Stuchlíková, I., Man, F., King, A. L., & Inderhaug, R. (2002). Motivational structure and alcohol use of university students with consistency across four nations. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 63, 280-285.
  • Klinger, E. (2013). Goal commitments and the content of thoughts and dreams: Basic principles. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00415.
  • Klinger, E. (1975). Consequences of commitment to and disengagement from incentives. Psychological Review, 82, 1-25.
  • Klinger, E., Barta, S. G., & Kemble, E. D. (1974). Cyclic activity changes during extinction in rats: A potential model of depression. Animal Learning and Behavior, 2, 313-316.
  • Klinger, E., Henning, V. R., & Janssen, J. M. (2009). Fantasy-proneness dimensionalized: Dissociative component is related to psychopathology, daydreaming as such is not. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 506-510.
  • Klinger, E., Murphy, M. D., Ostrem, J. L., & Stark-Wroblewski, K. (2005). Disclosing daydreams versus real experiences: Attitudes, emotional reactions, and personality correlates. Imagination, Cognition and Personality.
  • Nikles, C. D., II, Brecht, D. L., Klinger, E., & Bursell, A. L. (1998). The effects of current-concern- and nonconcern related waking suggestions on nocturnal dream content. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 242-255.

Other Publications:

  • Klinger, E. (2012). The search for meaning in evolutionary perspective and its clinical implications. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.) (pp. 23-56). New York: Routledge.
  • Klinger, E. (2009). Daydreaming and fantasizing: Thought flow and motivation. In K. D. Markman, W. M. P. Klein, and J. A. Suhr (Eds), Handbook of imagination and mental simulation (pp. 225-239). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Klinger, E. (1998). The search for meaning in evolutionary perspective and its clinical implications. In P. T. P. Wong & P. S. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 27-50). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Klinger, E. (1996). Emotional influences on cognitive processing, with implications for theories of both. In P. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior (pp. 168-189). New York: Guilford.
  • Klinger, E. (1996). The contents of thoughts: Interference as the downside of adaptive normal mechanisms in thought flow. In I. G. Sarason, B. R. Sarason, & G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Cognitive interference: Theories, methods, and findings (pp. 3-23). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Klinger, E., & Cox, W. M. (2011). Motivation and the goal theory of current concerns. In W. M. Cox & E. Klinger (Eds.), Handbook of motivational counseling (2nd ed.) (pp. 3-47). Chichester, UK: Wiley.
  • Klinger, E., & Cox, W. M. (2011). The Motivational Structure Questionnaire, Personal Concerns Inventory, and their variants: Psychometric properties. In W. M. Cox & E. Klinger (Eds.). Handbook of motivational counseling (2nd ed.) (pp. 205-232). Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Eric Klinger
Division of the Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, Morris
600 E. 4th Street
Morris, Minnesota 56267
United States

  • Phone: (320) 589-6201
  • Fax: (320) 589-6117

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