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Lecture 4: Motivation

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McGill University
PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

Sept 15 - baumeister: self-regulation failure - underregulation occurs because of deficient standards, inadequate monitoring or inadequate strength. misregulation occurs because of false assumptions or misdirected efforts, especially an unwarranted emphasis on emotion. the evidence supports a strength (limited resource) model of self-regulation and suggests that people often acquiesce in losing control. Loss of control of attention, failure of transcendence, and various lapse-activated causes all contribute to regulatory failure. Sept 15 Elite Gymnastics - is it possible to be overly focused on a single goal? is it possible to exercise too much control and have it end up maladaptive? - they start training at about four > by the age of 6, most of them are practicing 3-4 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. the career ends at around 12. - explore the distinctions between underregulation, which is the primary cause of failure at 90% and misregulation (two types of failure) - examine the self-regulation of elite gymnasts - consider the relationship of goals and self-control to healthy adaptation (how do goals connect with other things in peoples' lives?) - consider whether self-discipline is overrated - women's gymnastics is the most popular sport at the summer olympics (ice skating = winter) - shouldn't be called "women's," should be called girls - Kerry Strug: this girl ended up vaulting on a sprained ankle in order to win. - her team and coach pressured her into it even though she couldn't feel her leg - "while seriously injured and while knowing and intensely painful and harmful experience is awaiting one, one must still execute a strensuous and demanding routine with world class skill." Baumeister - this is perhaps the ultimate of our capacity to exercise self-control - self-control is a more precise self-regulation: the capacity to alter ones responses especially so as to bring them into line with standards such as ideals, values, morals and social expectations, and to support the pursuit of long-term goals." - we exercise self-control through transcendence: our primary tool in terms of self-control is our ability to deploy our attention. we need to see beyond the immediate stimulus environment by focusing on more long-range goals that are higher in value. - when we're studying, we overcome how boring our reading is and focus on wanting to be a doctor - prayer may be a form of transcendence, but it's not necessary - there was a bit of a debate when she did it because she's a girl. - ingredients of successful self-regulation: 1. standards 2. monitoring of feedback 3. self-regulatory strength - our standards are often unclear, but Kerri knew what she needed to do, and thus knew her standards well. - gymnasts live in a feedback-rich environment: the coaches watch constantly - most of the feedback in that sport focuses on what you're doing wrong and how to improve it. - can we delay gratification? this is something important that has to do with school accomplishment - their capacity to delay gratification is stunning, because they can't have real friends, relaxation time, boyfriends, delicious food or breaks when they hurt themselves - no evidence at all of underregulation for elite gymnasts - this, then, is more like misregulation: exerting self-control in a way that fails to bring about the desired results because the efforts are misguided or wasted - examples of this are: misunderstood contingencies (unrequited love), trying to control the uncontro
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