Markku Niemivirta

Image of Markku  Niemivirta
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22857778
Room 528
Visiting address Sem Sælands vei 7 Helga Engs hus 0317 OSLO
Postal address P.O.Box 1092 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic Interests

  • Developmental relationships between motivation, achievement and subjective well-being
  • Situational dynamics in motivation and task engagement
  • Mathematics learning and its antecedents and outcomes
  • Brain activity related to error processing and its association with individual differences in motivation, temperament and neurocognitive functioning

Current activities

  • I currently lead the Motivation, learning and wellbeing - research team, which focuses on investigating both developmental and situational dynamics in motivation, wellbeing, and performance. Our current projects examine how and why students end up with their different academic interests and competence perceptions, how these different motivational forces interact as such and with skills and achievement in the course of development, how they contribute to students’ wellbeing, and how such developmental trajectories influence more specific task engagement. We also look at the role of temperament and perfectionism in these dynamics.


  • 2004: PhD (educational sciences), University of Helsinki
  • 2008: Docent (educational psychology), University of Helsinki.

Recent academic positions

  • 2017-present: Professor, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2017-present: Research Director, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • 2011-2016: Professor, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • 2010-2011: University Lecturer, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • 2010: Research Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
  • 2008-2010: University Lecturer, Department of Education, University of Helsinki
  • 2005-2008: Academy Research Fellow, Research Centre for Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki
  • 2004-2005: Academy Researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä
  • 2001-2004: Collegium Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki

Grants and awards

  • 2003-2005, Research grant, Academy of Finland (as a member of a research consortium)
  • 2005-2007, Research grant, Academy of Finland (with prof. Katariina Salmela-Aro)
  • 2005, Doctoral Thesis Award, University of Helsinki
  • 2005-2008, Research grant, Academy of Finland
  • 2010-2014, Research grant, University of Helsinki
  • 2014-2018, Research grant, Academy of Finland
Tags: Education, Motivation


Pulkka, A-T. & Niemivirta, M. (2015). The relationships between adult students’ achievement goal orientations, self-defined course goals, course evaluations, and performance. Journal for Educational Research Online. 7(3), 28-53.

Tapola, A., Jaakkola, T., & Niemivirta, M. (2014). The influence of achievement goal orientations and task concreteness on situational interest. Journal of Experimental Education, 82(4), 455-479

Vuokko, E., Niemivirta, M., & Helenius, P. (2013). Distinct cortical activation patterns during subitizing and counting. Brain Research, 1497, 40–52.

Tuominen-Soini, H., Salmela-Aro, K., & Niemivirta, M. (2012). Achievement goal orientations and academic well-being across the transition to upper secondary education. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 290-305.

Helenius, P., Laasonen, M., Hokkanen, L., Paetau, R., & Niemivirta, M. (2011). Impaired engagement of the ventral attentional pathway in ADHD. Neuropsychologia, 49, 1889-1896.

Aunio, P. & Niemivirta, M. (2010). Predicting children’s mathematical performance in grade one by early numeracy. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(5), 427-435.

Helenius, P., Laasonen, M., Hokkanen, L., Paetau, R., & Niemivirta, M. (2010). Neural correlates of late positivities associated with infrequent visual events and response errors. NeuroImage, 53(2), 619-628.

Tuominen-Soini, H., Salmela-Aro, K. & Niemivirta, M. (2008). Achievement goal orientations and well-being: A person-centred analysis. Learning and Instruction, 18, 251-266.

Niemivirta, M. & Tapola, A. (2007). Self-efficacy, interest, and task performance: Within-task changes, mutual relationships, and predictive effects. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 21, 241-250.

Aunio, P., Niemivirta, M., Hautamäki, J., Van Luit, J., Shi, J., & Zhang, M. (2006). Young children's number sense in China and Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50, 483-502.

Niemivirta, M. (2002). Individual differences and developmental trends in motivation: Integrating person-centered and variable-centered methods. In P. R. Pintrich & M. L. Maehr (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol. 12, pp. 241-275). Amsterdam: JAI Press.

Boekaerts, M. & Niemivirta, M. (2000). Self-regulated learning: Finding a balance between learning- and ego-protective goals. In M. Boekaerts, P. R Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation (pp. 417-450). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

  • Nuutila, Katariina; Tuominen, Heta; Tapola, Anna; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina & Niemivirta, Markku (2018). Consistency, longitudinal stability, and predictions of elementary school students' task interest, success expectancy, and performance in mathematics. Learning and Instruction.  ISSN 0959-4752.  56, s 73- 83 . doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2018.04.003 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • Gonçalves, Teresa; Niemivirta, Markku & De Lemos, Marina (2017). Identification of students' multiple achievement and social goal profiles and analysis of their stability and adaptability. Learning and individual differences.  ISSN 1041-6080.  54, s 149- 159 . doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2017.01.019 Show summary
  • Koivuhovi, Satu; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina; Kalalahti, Mira & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Changes in Children's Agency Beliefs and Control Expectancy in Classes with and without a Special Emphasis in Finland from Grade Four to Grade Six. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.  ISSN 0031-3831. . doi: 10.1080/00313831.2017.1402364 Show summary
  • Rawlings, Anna Maria; Tapola, Anna & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Predictive Effects of Temperament on Motivation. International Journal of Educational Psychology.  ISSN 2014-3591.  6(2), s 148- 182 . doi: 10.17583/ijep.2017.2414
  • Tuominen, Heta; Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas; Tapola, Anna & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Tavoiteorientaatiot, oppiminen ja hyvinvointi, I: Katariina Salmela-Aro & Jari-Erik Nurmi (red.),  Mikä meitä liikuttaa: Motivaatiopsykologian perusteet.  PS-kustannus.  ISBN 978-952-451-769-0.  Chapter 6.  s 80 - 98

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  • Niemivirta, Markku (2018). “I am good at it, therefore I like it” – The mutual predictions of interest and competence perceptions on performance.
  • Niemivirta, Markku (2018). Striving for achievement – A double-edged sword?.
  • Nuutila, Katariina; Tapola, Anna; Tuominen, Heta; Kupiainen, Sirkku; Pásztor, Attila & Niemivirta, Markku (2018). Kiinnostuksen, minäpystyvyyden ja suorituksen väliset ennusteet tehtävän aikana.
  • Niemivirta, Markku (2017). The double-edged sword of striving for achievement.
  • Nuutila, Katariina; Tuominen, Heta & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Tavoiteorientaatioiden kehitys alakoulun ensimmäisillä luokilla.
  • Nuutila, Katariina; Tuominen, Heta & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). The development of achievement goal orientations during the first school years.
  • Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas; Tapola, Anna; Tulis, Maria; Tuominen, Heta & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Do students’ beliefs about errors vary as a function of their achievement goal orientation profiles?.
  • Rawlings, Anna Maria; Tapola, Anna & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Developmental interplay of temperament and motivation during the early school years.
  • Rawlings, Anna Maria; Tapola, Anna & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Temperamentin ja motivaation kehitykselliset yhteydet alaluokilla.
  • Ståhlberg, Jenny; Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas; Tuominen, Heta & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Opiskelijoiden perfektionistiset taipumukset: niiden pysyvyys, muutos ja yhteydet tavoiteorientaatioihin.
  • Ståhlberg, Jenny; Tuominen, Heta; Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). Students’ perfectionistic strivings: Stability, change, and associations with achievement goals.
  • Tapola, Anna; Tuominen, Heta & Niemivirta, Markku (2017). The predictors and outcomes of the changes in students’ course-specific interest and self-efficacy.

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Published Apr. 27, 2017 2:59 PM - Last modified Sep. 24, 2018 1:30 PM