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Zoom in on the 19th International Reversal Theory Conference


Zoom in on the 19th International Reversal Theory Conference

Whether you are a team leader, a team member, a student or a patient receiving care, motivation will determine your performance or the treatment success.


We’re back from the 19th International Reversal Theory Conference and excited to share with you what we learned from the different presentations! 


If you’re wondering what is the direct link between workplace well-being and the quality of life of adult Cancer Survivors? How the APTER Motivational Profiles encourage an efficient leadership? Or how are they linked to psychodiversity? We’ve got you covered!


Whether you are a team leader, a team member, a student or a patient receiving care, motivation will determine your performance or the treatment success.


Nowadays, Reversal Theory can be applied in a wide range of disciplines such as education, business, or scientific research


We’re back from the 19th International Reversal Theory Conference that took place on July 10th-12th in Las Vegas, NM and we’re excited to share what we learned from the different presentations! 


Our tools in perspective


For the 5th time, we contributed to the conference by bringing our expertise on practical applications of RT within the business community.


If our psychological states are constantly evolving depending on the situation, it is however possible to stay motivated in all circumstances.


A little bit of background 

Reversal Theory was originated by Michael J. Apter who holds a PhD in Psychology and his father, psychiatrist Ken Smith.


The theory sets out the principle that we change from day to day and our personality is not fixed but adaptable to each situation.


Here is how we spent those three days at the New Mexico Highlands University and what we learned from Reversal Theory most recent research findings.


First words by Michael Apter in person


The opening was dedicated to the Ken Smith memorial lecture who’s passionate character inspired Michael and encouraged him to pursue new pathways.

Indeed, Reversal Theory, was born in Cardiff in the 70’s when Ken invited Michael to work on new care protocols in his clinic.

The Theory was then developed through lively debates with his father and other researchers which resulted in the creation of the first International Conference in 1983.


These conferences have since been the main hub for Reversal Theory research studies which have been applied in psychology, psychotherapy and medicine before being transferred to the business world.


Once again this year, numerous research results were presented during the three day program.




Reversal Theory and Leadership


How the APTER Leadership Profiles (ALP) can lead to successful leadership practices?


During their presentation, Mitzi L. Desselles and Barton Crum (from Louisiana Tech University) examined the factor structure of all 8 Leadership Profiles and the frequency with which the motivational micro-climates were encouraged by the leader.


If most leadership theories lack a motivational aspect, the APTER Leadership Profile helps leaders more fully understand the motivational micro-climate they encourage and can be used to better their practices thanks to assessment tools.

According to the researchers, the application of Reversal Theory principles to the study of leadership suggests that successful leaders provide their teams with diverse experiences by creating an atmosphere including all 8 motivational profiles. 


Mitzi Desselles and Barton Crum analysis shows that providing diverse motivational climates leads to a successful leadership.

Maximizing Quality of Life for Adult Cancer Survivors using motivational styles.

If our mission at APTER France is to provide training to managers and professionals using the Motivational Profiles, they also find an interesting application in the field of medicine. 


With regard to this topic, we were captivated by the pilot project led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research and the University of Texas Health-San Antonio (UTHSA). 


Their 16 weeks pilot study tested the feasibility of a holistic approach to maximise quality of life for cancer survivors using motivational profiles to tailor the intervention.

According to the scientists, traditional medicine usually only focuses on the physiological aspect of the quality of life.

This innovative study rather seeks to optimise patients quality of life through an individual approach based on the Reversal Theory motivational styles.


A new measure of psychodiversity


Is psychodiversity really a benefit?


According to Victoria Thorpe-Jones & Mark R. McDermott (School of Psychological Sciences et University of East London), the psychological benefits of psychodiversity are different depending on the metamotivational state of the subject.


As a matter of fact, a psychodiverse individual is per definition able to navigate between the 8 metamotivational states:


  • Serious (telic) and playful (paratelic).

  • Conforming and rebellious.

  • Mastery and sympathy.

  • Autic (self oriented) and alloic (oriented towards others).


After conducting a study on 116 participants, Victoria and Mark were able to determine that not all meta-motivational forms of psychodiversity were found to be beneficial


Indeed, being equally psychodiverse across all 4 of the metamotivational states could even lead to a depressive state.


Instead, after the test phase, the results reported suggested that individuals with a moderate level of psychodiversity experienced the highest level of well-being.

The conclusions of this research study encourage individuals to strive towards being highly psychodiverse within the sympathy-mastery state, and the least psychodiverse within the alloic-autic state in order to experience the optimum level of well-being. 


Note that it’s the first time that a scientific study demonstrates that the benefits of psychodiversity may operate differently across the metamotivational states.


The importance of reversals in students’ achievement


Joanne Hudson’s presentation (from Swansea University) on students’ engagement and achievement showed us that Reversal Theory could also be applied in the education field.


The goal of the study led by the university team was to examine students’ metamotivational state, state reversals, and emotions throughout a taught session to understand student engagement and achievement.

As a result of this experiment involving 172 students, Joanne demonstrated that reversals between different states and emotions encourage students’ achievement.


Further results showed that the telic, conformist, and mastery states might not be the most functional for learning and development.

Reversal Theory Framed Sessions (Credits : Joanne Hudson, Laura Thomas, Emily Oliver, Taylor Waters, and, Laura Mason, Swansea University, Liverpool John Moores University, Durham University.)

Exploring the effects of performance feedback on motivational states


The study led by Ann-Marie Castille, Ph.D. from Nicholls State University and her colleagues Mitzi Desselles, Ph.D., Matthew Castillo, M.S., & Hudson Taylor from Louisiana Tech University was aimed to answer the following research question:


Does performance feedback prompt certain motivational states?

In the light of motivational management, this study was particularly interesting because it demonstrated the existence of a link between performance feedback and motivational states.


After exploring different performance feedback characteristics related to “valence” (positive or negative) and “accuracy” (accurate or inaccurate statement), Mitzi and Hudson were able to demonstrate that effect of feedback on motivational state are different depending on if feedback is positive or negative.


Furthermore, the results may help explain why certain feedback does not always result in desired behavior change.


Interpretation: Negative feedback is related to telic, rebellious, self-mastery and self-sympathy states while positive feedback is related to paratelic, conforming and other-mastery states. 


Introducing new products form APTER France and the concept of “Emotivations”


During these 3 days dedicated to Reversal Theory, we were thrilled to present our new set of products and introduce the audience to the concept of “Emotivations” developed by our teams. 


Today more than ever, professionals need to be agile and adaptable to changing environments


While performance characterisation is shifting form styles (behaviours) to roles (motivations), we are dedicated to help business professionals attain their goals with innovative products and certifications. 


In order to adapt to this ongoing performance revolution, we presented our set of products based on “emotivational intelligence”:


  • Climage.

  • Our Emotivations card game.

  • Our new 360° performance and motivation assessment tool.

  • Our certification process designed for trainers and coaches.

  • Our bilingual web platform to access the tools.


Our tools are now up and running and were approved by the research teams. 


They are the cement of our daily mission at APTER France: support business professionals in the management of the different “emotivational states” within their work environment.


The conference concluded with the traditional Reversal Theory Society General Meeting and the announcement of the next International Conference. 


The 2021 Reversal Theory International Conference will be held in Paris in 2021 and we will have the pleasure of contributing to its organization!


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Comment gérer la motivation avant et pendant une compétition ? Zoom : La 19e Conférence Internationale sur la Théorie du Renversement