Perspectives Continued: The Cognitive Perspective: Goal Setting and Self regulation

Perspectives Continued: The Cognitive Perspective: Goal Setting and Self regulation

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MODULE ONE: PERSPECTIVES

  • Over the next four weeks, we will investigate the following motivational themes/perspectives:
  • 1. Week one: evolutionary perspectives:
  • 2. Week two temperament- Elliott and Thrash, 2002
  • 3. Week Three: self regulation-
  • Research: Carver, 2004
  • 4. Week Four
  • A. learning: habits (summarize)
  • B. cognitive dissonance (summarize) week three

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The Cognitive Perspective on Motivation

  • Cognitions-mental events
  • The cognitive perspective on motivation
  • How does a person’s way of thinking and believing influence (motivate) behavior?
  • Includes mental constructs like beliefs, expectations, goals, plans, judgments, values, and the self-concept
  • Our Focus: Goal Setting, Implementing, Threat Assessment, Avoidance and Self regulation

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Schematic of the TOTE Model

If Incongruous

If congruous

If Incongruous

The cognitive mechanism by which plans were believed to energize and direct behavior.

Historical Model–

PLANS: The TOTE Model

= motivational energy

= motivational direction

George Miller was considered a pioneer in the study of the current day cognitive study of motivation. Above is a model he constructed that depicts a relationship between the cognitive construct called “planning” and behavior.

According to this cognitive model, we have mental representations of our idealized behaviors, objects, and events. We have an idea of how we’d like to look, how academically, socially, professionally successful we should be…where our pets go to the bathroom…basically anything that we perceive to have some level of control over, we have an idealized image of how that thing or event should be to us. Simultaneously, we are also aware of our current status with respect to that idealized end…we know how we look, whether we are performing well, whether our pets are going in the ideal location.

If we detect a mismatch (Depicted as “TEST” in the diagram), we feel discomfort. That discomfort is motivating and causes us to formulate a plan and execute that plan into action (Depicted as “OPERATE” in the diagram). So the incongruity provides the energy to act and the plan provides the direction to get us closer to the ideal state.

Following the model, after a period of action, we then test the present state against the ideal, and as long as a discrepancy exists, we continue to operate on the environment until congruity between the ideal and current state is achieved.

This model was beneficial, in that it nicely depicted the moment to moment influence that cognitive planning has on our behavior.

For example, your text mentions actions directed at achieveing a “good hair day”. This model implies that we must have an ideal hair style in mind…so we fix our hair, look in the mirror and perform the test. If there is a discrepancy, a plan to fix our hair is devised and implemented. A test is run again, a plan of action is initiated and this test, operate sequence continues until we have reached the ideal…or run out of hair product, I guess.

To see an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHZ9fsusMGc

Historical Model–
PLANS: Criticism

  • In summary:
  • We detect and inconsistency
  • We formulate and enact a plan
  • We detect and inconsistency
  • We formulate and enact a plan
  • Plans are viewed as fixed and static
  • Contemporary cognitive models allow a more dynamic and flexible depiction of plan-directed behavior
  • Rather than activating an action sequence, incongruity gives rise to corrective motivation which can take many forms:
  • Change the plan, change the behavior’s intensity, or drop the plan altogether

Plans are viewed as fixed and static and become automatic as further discrepancy is detected

Contemporary cognitive models allow a more realistic depiction in which plans are adjustable and able to be revised

Note the flexibility of plan choice seen in the rubix cube video…although the action was really fast and probably not intelligible to us, the labeling of the action showed us that different plans were being enacted in the process of reaching the ideal solved state for the rubix cube.

The Motivating properties of

Discrepancy

Present state represents the persons

current status of how life is going.

Ideal state represents

how the persons

wishes life was going.

  • When the present state falls short of the hoped-for ideal state, a discrepancy is exposed.
  • It is the discrepancy-rather than the ideal state per se– that has motivational properties.
  • Discrepancy creates the sense of wanting to change the present state so that it will move

closer and closer toward the ideal state.

In instances of discrepancy, the person first envisions possible outcomes that are different from the present situation. The awareness of the mismatch between the present and what is desired creates a sense of incongruity that is motivating. You textbook mentions a very powerful application of this depiction of the motivation power of discrepancy: it reads, “ Therefore, when people ask” What can I do to increase motivation?” those who study discrepancy-based motivation have a very practical answer: basically create an ideal state in your mind, or more precisely, create a present state-ideal state discrepancy

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Two Types of Discrepancy

Discrepancy reduction corresponds

to plan-based corrective motivation.

Discrepancy reduction is reactive,

deficiency overcoming, and revolves

around a feedback system.

Discrepancy creation corresponds to goal-setting motivation.

Discrepancy creating is proactive, growth pursuing, and revolves around a “feed-forward” system.

Reduction underlies plans and corrective motivation. It is initiated after receiving feedback about how well performance lines up with idealized performance. (So the behavior has already been enacted, now we are evaluating it). We determine then, whether we are performing at a desired level.

Creation occurs before a behavior is initiated. It is the starting point for any specific performance setting.

Updating the TOTE Model

  • New areas of research followed the TOTE model
  • Modifications:
  • Goal setting
  • The importance of Feedback
  • Self regulation of goal attainment and threat avoidance

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Goal Setting

A goal is whatever an individual is trying to accomplish.

* A goal is whatever an individual is trying to accomplish.

Why do goals work to increase performance?

A proactive version of a plan

They are motivating—force us to focus on a discrepancy between present and ideal level of accomplishment

Adaptive Value of Goal Setting

  • Setting goals yields higher quality performance
  • Examples:
  • Sit-ups, weightlifting, learn textbook information, sell products, shoot archery, conserve natural resources, lose weight, logging, word process, truck driving trips
  • A few qualifiers though: goal effectiveness depends upon two factors: goal difficulty and goal specificity

*A note here: in all of the remaining slides on goal setting, it is implicitly assumed that an individual has set a goal..or someone has set a goal for them and that person has ACCEPTED the goal and is producing behavior in an attempt to meet that goal. See the section in your text on goal acceptance for why this may not always be the case.

In general, a person will perform better at almost any task if they set a goal for themselves than if they don’t. Given the same ability and experience, those who set goals will outperform those who don’t.

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Adaptive Value of Goal Setting

  • Linear relationship between difficulty and performance

Goal Difficulty

In general, goals that are of higher difficulty translate into enhanced performance. Easier goals yield decreased performance.

So if we have a goal of running up 20 flights of stairs, a goal of running 30 flights would be more difficult. They yield increased performance because, when considering the definition of motivation, difficult goals energize the performer (they work on the initiation aspect of motivation). We tend to exert effort in proportion to what the goal requires of us (again, assuming the goal is accepted…if goals are too lofty, we see a decrement in perf). So easy goals stim little effort, moderately challenging goals stimulate moderate effort, and difficult goals stimulate high effort.

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Adaptive Value of Goals Setting

  • Specificity
  • How clearly a goal conveys expectations
  • “Do your best” vs. “Get out your spelling list, rehearse the word list 4 times and write each word 4 times”
  • Specific=including something numerical
  • Specificity produces consistency in performance across individuals

Specificity refers to how clearly a goal informs the performer of what is to be done.

Do your best is a goal, but it is an ambiguous one that leaves wide open the opportunity for people to apply multiple translations and yields highly variable performance. So one might look at the list, one might stick it under their pillow the night before, one might rehearse it 20 times.

Specificity is important because it causes people to focus their attention on what needs to be done and minimizes interpretation and performance variability

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Adaptive Value

  • Summary: Goals will enhance performance under specific circumstances:
  • Difficult goals
  • Energize the performer
  • Increase effort and persistence
  • Specific goals
  • Direct the performer toward a specific course of actions, increase mental and behavioral focus
  • They tell the person where to concentrate attention and what specifically to do
  • So…specific, difficult goals raise performance, yielding a net decrease in the ideal performance-actual performance discrepancy

By energizing the performer, difficult goals increase the performer’s effort and persistence. They increase persistence because effort continues until the goal is reached. They make it less likely that the person will stop prematurely

Specific goals also decrease the probability that the performer will be distracted away from the task.

Example: I do “insanity workouts”. I never really set goals when I first started them and I noticed myself not keeping up and it made me actually kind of psyche myself out and not want to do them. So…one evening, I specifically said to myself, just do my best…this isn’t a competition. I noticed that I stopped through almost every exercise during the final 15 minutes of the workout and was mentally and physically exhausted and lacked focus. It was like I was trying to do the workout without actually being in the room, doing the workout The next time I did that work out, I made a specific and difficult goal that I would only stop for water after every 4 exercises. I made it through the workout and felt physically tired, but mentally sharp and energized—and I had worked substantially harder than during the previous attempt. So, I have specifically seen performance benefits when I set difficult and specific exercise goals for myself.

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Caution:

  • It is not automatic that proper goal setting will yield performance gains:
  • Performance depends on other factors, besides motivation:
  • Ability, training, coaching, resources

So, if two performers have comparable ability, training, coaching and resources, then performers with difficult and specific goals will likely outperform performers without those kinds of goals. Practically speaking, when goals fail to affect performance, it may not be a problem with the goal, but rather with those other factors..so coaching, training, ability, and resources should also be evaluated when considering causes for poor performance.

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or, Knowledge of Results

Feedback documents the performer’s

progress towards goal attainment.

(1) Feedback defines performance

(2) Feedback acts as a reinforcer (or punisher)

Therefore, instructive to future goal setting efforts

The Adaptive Value of Feedback

  • Goal setting is only as effective as the quality of the feedback that one receives after executing behavior to achieve that goal

Imagine how useless a goal of running a 6 minute mile would be without a stop watch! Imagine how useless it would to be have a goal of getting an A in the class if you never received test results. There would be no way of informing the performer how they are progressing or whether they are reducing the current state-ideal state discrepancy.

One needs BOTH a goal and feedback in order to maximize performance

(First read over 1 and 2 in slide and then discuss them together with the text below)

Adaptive value

Providing emotional satisfaction or dissatisfaction

That emotional response is also motivating

Satisfaction breeds excitement, competence and perhaps goal revision to a greater difficulty level

Dissatisfaction yield awareness of a discrepancy and causes us to exert a great effort to minimize the discrepancy

Figure 8.3

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Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

  • The current research article
  • Carver, 2004: Self Regulation of Action and Affect
  • Self-regulation involves the person’s metacognitive (self) monitoring of how his or her goal-setting progress is going.
  • It is our ability to transform mental abilities into task related skills
  • In other words, it involves self monitoring of your behavior AND evaluation of the productivity of that behavior in achieving a goal or avoiding a threat

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Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

  • Some background info on this cognitive model
  • “Cybernetic Model”
  • Interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems
  • A cybernetic model works ONLY in a closed loop fashion.
  • Purpose: to define the functions and workings of systems that have goals and participate in a circular causal chain that moves from
  • action (behavior),
  • to sensing (one’s current situation),
  • to comparison (of situation with an ideal) that will prompt further action

Carver uses the word “cybernetic” to describe what this model is and how it works.

Interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems: involves describing how communication processes, control mechanisms and feedback processes work. So, it too relies on feedback and produces a diagram of this feedback system in action to show how we behave when employing self regulation.

A cybernetic model is a useful descriptor here, because by definition, cybernetic models are those models that work ONLY in a closed loop fashion.

What that means is that Carver sets up the specific items in that model, joins them with arrows, and those arrows form a circle (closed loop)…so that ONLY the items in the model affect it. They relate to eachother and run together in a circular fashion. Specifically, action only within the loop’s environment will cause a change within that environment.

That change that occurs is manifest via feedback that will affect how the system behaves.

  • Why cybernetic models do a better job of describing human behavior than the TOTE model
  • Shows how we can handle multiple tasks
  • Depicts our ability to focus on multiple goals at once

Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

Why cybernetic models do a better job of describing human behavior than the TOTE model

Shows how we can handle multiple tasks

Depicts our ability to focus on multiple goals at once and how that focus translates into a stream of actions that can shift repeatedly from one goal to another

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  • Some background info on this cognitive model
  • Definitions:
  • “Discrepancy Reducing” Behavior Feedback Loop
  • Behavior is produced to REDUCE any discrepancy between a goal (ideal state) and one’s perception of a current behavior (current state)
  • Follows all of the properties of “Discrepancy-Reduction” planning and goal seen in previous slides
  • Kinds of discrepancy that is produced: behavior is not close enough; behavior has exceeded ideal
  • Behaviors that are produced from perceived discrepancies are vastly different, depending upon whether the discrepancy indicates failure to meet the goal or exceeding the goal

Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

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  • Some background info on this cognitive model
  • Definitions:
  • “Discrepancy Enhancing” Behavior Feedback Loop
  • Behavior is produced to push you away from, or to move away from, a threat (ideal state), also called an “anti-goal”
  • This loop acts to ENLARGE the discrepancy between the anti-goal and the current perception
  • Kinds of discrepancy that is produced: behavior takes the person too close to the threat; behavior has kept the person further from away from the threat
  • Behaviors that are produced from perceived discrepancies are vastly different, depending upon whether the discrepancy indicates failure to avoid the threat or exceeding the threat

Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

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  • Some background info on this cognitive model
  • Definitions:
  • “Affect” Loop
  • Affect indicates our desires and whether those desires are being met
  • Loop works simultaneously with a behavior feedback loop
  • Here, a comparison is made between one’s current RATE of progress toward a goal (or away from a threat) and one’s ideal RATE of progress.
  • Types of discrepancy:
  • you are not going fast enough
  • You are going too fast
  • The kinds of affects that are produced will vary depending upon the following:
  • Whether the reference concerns a goal or a threat
  • Whether the rate is too slow or faster than intended

Application: Goal Striving, Threat Avoidance and the Role of Affect

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Hints to Guide Your Reading

  • Note: the following are suggestions that will IMMENSELY assist you in taking the quiz and especially in preparing you for your exam…please be sure to do this as you are reading, or as soon as you finish
  • Reading: pgs 13-top of pg 27
  • First, re-draw Carver’s model of self regulation (figure 2.1)
  • Secondly, define each of the terms in the model
  • Thirdly, please execute one iteration (that means use the model in a step by step fashion) of the model with respect to a goal that you have in this class. Here’s how:
  • First…imagine a good “Reference Value” (goal)…one with some sort of numerical value in it (recall, a difficult and a specific goal yields best performance)
  • You also determine “The Current Input”, execute “The Comparator” and determine an “Output”
  • Imagine this “Disturbance”: you experience car trouble and are certain your school work will have to be put off for an entire day while it gets fixed.
  • Determine this disturbance’s “Effect on the Environment”, and re-run the rest of the model to see how your output could likely be affected.
  • Next, instead of using a Goal as a “Reference Value”, now substitute this “Threat: you have determined that to avoid any contact with a car, it is best to cross a street when vehicles are at least 100 feet away from you. “ What would be the result of the comparator function? What would be a possible output?

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  • Questions for Reflection:
  • What kind of affect occurs when a goal is going well? What type of behavior is likely produced?
  • What kind of emotion occurs when a goal is going poorly? What type of behavior is likely produced?
  • What kind of affect occurs when a threat is going well (is being avoided)? What type of behavior is likely produced?
  • What kind of affect occurs when a threat is going poorly (you are getting closer to the threat value)? What type of behavior is likely produced?
  • In which type of behavior feedback loop are you trying to produce an output that moves you closer to the ideal?
  • In which behavior feedback loop are you trying to produce an output that moves you away from the ideal?
  • How do these cybernetic models indicate when you could or should shift from one reference situation to another. For example, how do you know, according to these models, when to shift from the reference of “spending time with my significant other” to the reference of “earning a 90% on my chemistry exam”?

Hints to Guide Your Reading

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Discussion Group Case Study

  • The goal of this case study is to get you to consider why or how failures in self regulation could occur.
  • Janie, a person with an avoidant temperament approaches you, a clinical psychologist, and indicates that she is having an anxiety problem. Specifically, she suffers from “generalized anxiety” which means that she is chronically anxious and really doesn’t know why. In other words, nothing in her environment triggers anxiety, per se, she just feels anxious all the time.
  • Why should this make sense to you, knowing that she has an avoidant, rather than an approach temperament?
  • You decide to use a cognitive therapy strategy to assist her in alleviating her anxiety. In preparation for your first counseling session, you create a cybernetic behavioral and affective feedback loop that would indicate how an anxiety disorder would occur (NOTE: the KIND of behavior feedback loop you use is critical to understanding this task)
  • So, pick you behavior loop. Next indicate how a malfunction in the components would likely create chronic anxiety that would lead to her anxiety disorder. Look at each component, consider how it should function for a person to have a normal affective life, and then consider how that specific component could work improperly, thereby causing an erroneous affective output.
  • After identifying all of the possible malfunctions, focus in on one and formulate a strategy to help her regain adaptive self regulation that would decrease her anxiety disorder.
  • Discuss your thoughts with your group, then post your collective feedback loop and explanation of the malfunction within the class discussion.

MAKE THE QUIZ!!!

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George Miller was considered a pioneer in the study of the current day cognitive study of motivation. Above is a model he constructed that depicts a relationship between the cognitive construct called “planning” and behavior.

According to this cognitive model, we have mental representations of our idealized behaviors, objects, and events. We have an idea of how we’d like to look, how academically, socially, professionally successful we should be…where our pets go to the bathroom…basically anything that we perceive to have some level of control over, we have an idealized image of how that thing or event should be to us. Simultaneously, we are also aware of our current status with respect to that idealized end…we know how we look, whether we are performing well, whether our pets are going in the ideal location.

If we detect a mismatch (Depicted as “TEST” in the diagram), we feel discomfort. That discomfort is motivating and causes us to formulate a plan and execute that plan into action (Depicted as “OPERATE” in the diagram). So the incongruity provides the energy to act and the plan provides the direction to get us closer to the ideal state.

Following the model, after a period of action, we then test the present state against the ideal, and as long as a discrepancy exists, we continue to operate on the environment until congruity between the ideal and current state is achieved.

This model was beneficial, in that it nicely depicted the moment to moment influence that cognitive planning has on our behavior.

For example, your text mentions actions directed at achieveing a “good hair day”. This model implies that we must have an ideal hair style in mind…so we fix our hair, look in the mirror and perform the test. If there is a discrepancy, a plan to fix our hair is devised and implemented. A test is run again, a plan of action is initiated and this test, operate sequence continues until we have reached the ideal…or run out of hair product, I guess.

To see an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHZ9fsusMGc

Plans are viewed as fixed and static and become automatic as further discrepancy is detected

Contemporary cognitive models allow a more realistic depiction in which plans are adjustable and able to be revised

Note the flexibility of plan choice seen in the rubix cube video…although the action was really fast and probably not intelligible to us, the labeling of the action showed us that different plans were being enacted in the process of reaching the ideal solved state for the rubix cube.

In instances of discrepancy, the person first envisions possible outcomes that are different from the present situation. The awareness of the mismatch between the present and what is desired creates a sense of incongruity that is motivating. You textbook mentions a very powerful application of this depiction of the motivation power of discrepancy: it reads, “ Therefore, when people ask” What can I do to increase motivation?” those who study discrepancy-based motivation have a very practical answer: basically create an ideal state in your mind, or more precisely, create a present state-ideal state discrepancy

*

Reduction underlies plans and corrective motivation. It is initiated after receiving feedback about how well performance lines up with idealized performance. (So the behavior has already been enacted, now we are evaluating it). We determine then, whether we are performing at a desired level.

Creation occurs before a behavior is initiated. It is the starting point for any specific performance setting.

*

A proactive version of a plan

They are motivating—force us to focus on a discrepancy between present and ideal level of accomplishment

*A note here: in all of the remaining slides on goal setting, it is implicitly assumed that an individual has set a goal..or someone has set a goal for them and that person has ACCEPTED the goal and is producing behavior in an attempt to meet that goal. See the section in your text on goal acceptance for why this may not always be the case.

In general, a person will perform better at almost any task if they set a goal for themselves than if they don’t. Given the same ability and experience, those who set goals will outperform those who don’t.

*

In general, goals that are of higher difficulty translate into enhanced performance. Easier goals yield decreased performance.

So if we have a goal of running up 20 flights of stairs, a goal of running 30 flights would be more difficult. They yield increased performance because, when considering the definition of motivation, difficult goals energize the performer (they work on the initiation aspect of motivation). We tend to exert effort in proportion to what the goal requires of us (again, assuming the goal is accepted…if goals are too lofty, we see a decrement in perf). So easy goals stim little effort, moderately challenging goals stimulate moderate effort, and difficult goals stimulate high effort.

*

Specificity refers to how clearly a goal informs the performer of what is to be done.

Do your best is a goal, but it is an ambiguous one that leaves wide open the opportunity for people to apply multiple translations and yields highly variable performance. So one might look at the list, one might stick it under their pillow the night before, one might rehearse it 20 times.

Specificity is important because it causes people to focus their attention on what needs to be done and minimizes interpretation and performance variability

*

By energizing the performer, difficult goals increase the performer’s effort and persistence. They increase persistence because effort continues until the goal is reached. They make it less likely that the person will stop prematurely

Specific goals also decrease the probability that the performer will be distracted away from the task.

Example: I do “insanity workouts”. I never really set goals when I first started them and I noticed myself not keeping up and it made me actually kind of psyche myself out and not want to do them. So…one evening, I specifically said to myself, just do my best…this isn’t a competition. I noticed that I stopped through almost every exercise during the final 15 minutes of the workout and was mentally and physically exhausted and lacked focus. It was like I was trying to do the workout without actually being in the room, doing the workout The next time I did that work out, I made a specific and difficult goal that I would only stop for water after every 4 exercises. I made it through the workout and felt physically tired, but mentally sharp and energized—and I had worked substantially harder than during the previous attempt. So, I have specifically seen performance benefits when I set difficult and specific exercise goals for myself.

*

So, if two performers have comparable ability, training, coaching and resources, then performers with difficult and specific goals will likely outperform performers without those kinds of goals. Practically speaking, when goals fail to affect performance, it may not be a problem with the goal, but rather with those other factors..so coaching, training, ability, and resources should also be evaluated when considering causes for poor performance.

*

  • Goal setting is only as effective as the quality of the feedback that one receives after executing behavior to achieve that goal

Imagine how useless a goal of running a 6 minute mile would be without a stop watch! Imagine how useless it would to be have a goal of getting an A in the class if you never received test results. There would be no way of informing the performer how they are progressing or whether they are reducing the current state-ideal state discrepancy.

One needs BOTH a goal and feedback in order to maximize performance

(First read over 1 and 2 in slide and then discuss them together with the text below)

Adaptive value

Providing emotional satisfaction or dissatisfaction

That emotional response is also motivating

Satisfaction breeds excitement, competence and perhaps goal revision to a greater difficulty level

Dissatisfaction yield awareness of a discrepancy and causes us to exert a great effort to minimize the discrepancy

*

*

Carver uses the word “cybernetic” to describe what this model is and how it works.

Interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems: involves describing how communication processes, control mechanisms and feedback processes work. So, it too relies on feedback and produces a diagram of this feedback system in action to show how we behave when employing self regulation.

A cybernetic model is a useful descriptor here, because by definition, cybernetic models are those models that work ONLY in a closed loop fashion.

What that means is that Carver sets up the specific items in that model, joins them with arrows, and those arrows form a circle (closed loop)…so that ONLY the items in the model affect it. They relate to eachother and run together in a circular fashion. Specifically, action only within the loop’s environment will cause a change within that environment.

That change that occurs is manifest via feedback that will affect how the system behaves.

Why cybernetic models do a better job of describing human behavior than the TOTE model

Shows how we can handle multiple tasks

Depicts our ability to focus on multiple goals at once and how that focus translates into a stream of actions that can shift repeatedly from one goal to another

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