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human motivation article notes

9 Pages

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PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

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Self-Regulation Failure by Baumeister and Heatherton Patterns of self-regulatory failure: 1) Underregulation: occurs because of deficient standards, inadequate monitoring or inadequate strength. 2) Misregulation: occurs because of false assumptions or misdirected efforts, especially an unwarranted emphasis on emotion. Evidence supports a strength model of self-regulation and suggests that people often accept losing control. Self-Regulatory Failure: occurs because of loss of control of attention, failure of transcendence or various lapse-activated causes. Crime, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, drug adduction, STDs, educational underachievement, gambling and domestic violence are among the social problems that revolve around the apparent inability of many individuals to discipline and control themselves. Moreover, there are many additional problems with self- regulation that cause considerable suffering to individuals even if they do not menace society at large (ex: eating binges, procrastination). One of the most elusive, important and distinctively human traits is the capacity of human beings to alter their own responses and thus remove them from the direct effects of immediate, situational stimuli. Mischel and Bandura proposed and demonstrated that human beings do seem to have the unique capacity to alter their own responses. Self-regulation is a complex, multi-faceted process and so it is not possible to identify a single cause or causal sequence that will explain all instances of self- regulation. Instead, there are several main patterns; the most basic distinction is between underregulation and misregulation. Underregulation: entails a failure to exert self-control; often the person does not bother or does not manage to control the self. Misregulation: involves the exertion of control over oneself, but this control is done in a misguided or counterproductive fashion, and so the desired result is not achieved. Feedback-loop models of Self-Regulation (such as the one elaborated by Carver and Scheier) indicate 3 main ingredients of self-regulation, and these suggest 3 main possible pathways for self-regulation failure. 1) The 1 ingredient: Standards (ideals, goals, or other conceptions of possible states). Without clear and consistent standards, self regulation is hampered. Therefore, either a lack of standards or a dilemma of conflicting, incompatible standards can prevent effective self-regulation. There is supporting evidence for this. Moreover, inappropriate standards can also hamper self-regulation. 2) The 2 ndingredient: Monitoring This involves comparing the actual state of the self to the standards and to do thta the person must monitor him-or herself. Keeping close track of ones actions and states is often vital to successful self-regulation and so when people cease to monitor themselves they tend to lose control. This is been shown to be true. The failure to judge ones abilities accurately may also impede successful self-regulation. 3) The 3 ingredient is contained in the Operate phase of the feedback loop. When the test phase reveals that the current state falls short of the standards, some process is set in motion to change the current state. Self-regulation failure can occur despite clear standards and effective monitoring, simply because the person is unable to bring about change. Certain responses are set in motion, either by innate programming, learning, habit, or motivationand self-regulation involves overriding them. In many cases, impulses are automatic in the sense of being beyond a persons volitional control. Self-Regulation is a controlled process that overrides the usual consequences of an impulse rather than preventing the impulse from occurring. Impulses and motivations vary according to strength, and the weaker ones are those that are easier to control and stifle. If the impulses have strength, then whatever stifles them must presumably consist of some greater strength. Implications of a strength model: 1) There will be important individual differences in self-regulatory strength. Thus, individual differences in the capacity to delay gratification predict a variety of interpersonal traits and behaviours that reflect self-control and can even predict academic performance over a decade later. Also, the same individuals show self-regulatory deficits across a broad spectrum of both legal and illegal behaviour. 2) A person can become exhausted from many simultaneous demands and so will sometimes fail at self-control even regarding things at which he or she would otherwise succeed. At any given time, a given person will only be able to regulate so much of his or her behaviour and so when strength is depleted by demands in one sphere, self-regulatory breakdowns may occur in others. In particular, fatigue or overexertion will deplete the persons strength and hence undermine some patterns of self-control. It has been shown that many patterns of self-regulation break down when people are under stress. Glass, Singer and Friedman found that coping with stress seemed to have a psychic cost that took the form of lowered self-regulatory capacity. Fatigue Hypothesis: since people are generally fatigued late in the evening, then self-regulation should break down more at such times than at others. Evidence supports this hypothesis. If there are individual differences in self-regulatory strength, then over the long run there will be positive correlations because strong people will tend to have relatively high levels of self-control in all spheres. In the short runhowever, the correlations will be negative because devoting ones self- regulatory efforts to one sphere will take away what is available for controlling oneself in other spheres. 3) It is just as possible to increase strength by regular exercise, so self- regulation should become easier the more one does it. This has been asserted by James. Ex: boot camps. Although the effectiveness of these programs has yet to be decided, we predict that their success at rehabilitating prisoners will be in proportion to their success at strengthening self-regulatory capacities. An implication of the notion of increasing strength is that people may become better at practicing self-denial or impulse control over time. This could mean that people who repeatedly quit smoking or go on diets may gradually become more effective and successful. Evidence suggests that psychological responses are marked by something akin to inertia, which makes them difficult to interrupt. Inertia refers to the theory that bodies in motion acquire a force that sustains them in motion. Psychological processes do acquire a kind of inertia. Indeed, the longer a response has gone on the more inertia it seems to have and hence the more difficult it is to override. Zeigarnik effect: the principle that interrupting an activity becomes more strenuous as it nears its comp
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