Attention and Self-Regulation

Attention and Self-Regulation : A Control-Theory Approach to Human Behavior

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"Seek simplicity and distrust it. " Alfred North Whitehead "It will become all too clear that an ability to see patterns in behavior, an ability that some might feel proud of, can lead more easily to a wrong description than a right one. " William T. Powers The goal of the theorist-the scholar-is to take a collection of observations of the world, and perceive order in them. This process necessarily imposes an artificial simplicity upon those observations. That is, specific observations are weighed differently from each other whenever a theoretical account is abstracted from raw experiences. Some observed events are misunderstood or distorted, others are seen as representing random fluctuations and are ignored, and yet others are viewed as centrally important. This abstraction and oversimplification of reality is inevitable in theory construction. Moreover, the abstracted vision builds upon itself. That is, as a structure begins to emerge from continued observation, the structure itself guides the search for new information. The result is a construction that is more elaborate than what existed before, but it still is usually simpler than reality. It is important for scholars to believe in the value of their task, and in the general correctness of the vision that guides their work. This commitment, and the hope of progress that follows from it, make it possible to continue even when the work is difficult and slow.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 403 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 21.84mm | 646g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1981
  • XVI, 403 p.
  • 1461258898
  • 9781461258896
  • 2,233,625

Table of contents

I. Background.- 1. Introduction.- A Statement of Intentions.- Organizational Plan.- 2. Cybernetics, Information, and Control.- Information.- Levels of Information.- Classification of Input.- Control.- Negative Feedback Loop and TOTE Unit.- Organizations Among Feedback Loops.- Positive Feedback Loops.- Hierarchical Organization and Time Scales.- Section Summary.- Applications to Living Systems.- Homeostasis.- Adaptation-Level Theory.- Behavior Regulation.- Information, Control, and Personality-Social Psychology.- 3. Focus of Attention, Inside and Outside the Laboratory.- Defining Terms.- Attention.- Self-Focus and Environment Focus.- Maintaining the Distinction.- Varying Attention in Research.- General Issues in Research Strategy.- Experimental Manipulations and Individual Differences.- Experimental Manipulations: Their Nature and Timing.- Manipulations of Self-Attention.- Validation.- Individual Differences in Self-Focus.- Validation.- Convergence of Manipulation and Disposition.- Validity.- Private and Public Self-Awareness.- Beyond the Laboratory.- Naturalistic Variations in Attentional Focus.- Attention to the Environment.- Attention to the Self.- Conclusion.- II. Information and the Use of Recognitory Schemas.- 4. Cognitive Theory: Schemas, Attributes, and Decision Biases.- Models of Abstraction.- Instance Theories.- Prototype Theories.- Frequency-Distribution Theories.- Section Summary.- Schemas and Prototypes.- Abstraction: Some Additional Issues.- A Hierarchy of Attribute Qualities.- Frames and Scripts.- Decision Making.- Biases in Decision Making.- Section Summary.- 5. Focus on the Environment: Perception of Places and Persons.- Behavioral Settings and Environmental Taxonomies.- Person Perception.- Traits as Recognitory Schemas.- Determinants of Initial Category Placement.- Consequences of Initial Category Placement.- Organization of Perception of Sequences.- Segmenting of Behavior Units.- Focus of Attention and Perception of the Environment.- 6. Focus on the Self: Perception of Self-Aspects.- Trait Schemas and the Self.- Self Schemas and Encoding.- Component Schemas and Degrees of Schematicity.- Conclusion.- Access to Self Schemas.- Self-Focus and Encoding by Self-Reference.- Self-Focus and Activation of the Self Schema.- Access and Attribution.- Internal States: Emotions and Symptoms.- Three Sources of Influence on Perceived Internal States.- Impact of Each Element on Subjective Experience.- Schemas and Symptom Distress.- Evoked Schemas and the By-Passing of Awareness.- Summary.- III. Attention and Motivation.- 7. Standards of Behavior.- Standards.- What is a Behavioral Standard?.- Categorization and the Specification of Behavior.- Section Summary.- A Hierarchy of Standards.- Levels of Behavioral Standards.- Conceptual Levels and the Physical.- Execution of Behavior.- Distinctions Within Levels.- Summary.- Programs, Principles, and Consciousness.- Effects of Attending to Well-Learned Behavior.- Closing Comment.- 8. Self-Focus and Feedback Loops.- Discrepancy Reduction.- Theory.- Duval and Wicklund's Theory.- The Comparison of Present State Versus Standard.- Self-Awareness and Information Seeking.- Self-Consciousness and Information Seeking.- Self-Consciousness and the Seeking of Diagnostic Information.- Self-Awareness and the Seeking of Diagnostic Information.- Conclusions and Boundary Condition.- Behavioral Matching to Standard.- Nonprovoked Aggression.- Responses to Erotica.- Children's Use of Standards.- Section Summary.- Discrepancy Enlargement.- Reactance.- Self-Awareness and Reactance.- Self-Consciousness and Reactance.- Self-Attention, Reactance, and Feedback Loops.- Negative Reference Groups.- Self-Consciousness and Use of Negative Reference Groups.- Positive Feedback Loop.- Social Comparison: A Theoretical Integration.- 9. Absence of Regulation, and Misregulation.- A Conceptual Distinction.- The Absence of Regulation.- Causes.- Deindividuation and the Absence of Regulation.- Remaining Issues Regarding Deindividuation Related Issues.- Misregulation.- Ilustrations from Behavioral Medicine.- Illustrations from.- Social Behavior.- Summary.- IV. Interruption, Expectancy and the Reassertion-Withdrawal Decision.- 10. Theory: Interrupting the Feedback Loop, and the Role of Expectancy.- Interruption of the System: An Example.- Response to Interruption: Assessment of Outcome Expectancy.- Bases of Expectancies.- Prior Success and Failure.- Other Bases for Expectancies.- Consequences of Expectancy Judgments.- Behavioral Consequences.- Relationship to Other Theories.- Affective Consequences of Expectancy Judgments.- Summary.- 11. Research: Persistence and Task Performance.- Early Research.- Discrepancy and the Avoidance of Self-Focusing Stimul.- Discrepancy and Selective Exposure to Self.- Subsequent Research Concerning Outcome Expectancy.- Avoidance and the Flexibility of the Discrepancy.- Self-Focus and Expectancies: Persistence and Withdrawal.- Self-Consciousness, Prior Outcomes, and Persistence.- Self-Esteem, Self-Attention, and Task Performance.- Self-Awareness, Relevance, and Persistence.- Outcome Expectancy and Efficacy Expectancy.- Links Between Cognition and Emotion in Achievement.- Attributions, Expectancy, and Achievement Behavior.- Prior Outcomes, Attribution, and Maze Performance.- Summary.- 12. Research: Anxiety-Related Behavior.- Self-Attention and Fear.- Self-Awareness and Phobic Behavior.- Self-Consciousness, Standards, and Fear.- Expectancies, Fear, and the Approach-Withdrawal Decision.- Self-Attention and Test Anxiety.- Test Anxiety, Self-Focus, and Facilitation of Performance.- Theoretical Comparisons.- Theories of Test Anxiety.- Self-Efficacy.- Summary.- 13. Additional Conceptual Issues: Achievement Motivation, Helplessness, and Egotism.- Achievement Motivation.- Atkinson's Formulation.- Relationship to Present Model.- The Role of Causal Attributions.- Section Summary.- Helplessness.- Reassertion and Giving Up.- Attributions, Behavior, and Affect.- Section Summary.- Egotism and Self-Esteem Maintenance.- Control Theory and Self-Esteem Maintenance.- Egotism and Attribution.- Egotism and Helplessness.- Expectancies, Outcomes, and the Effect of Perceived Difficulty.- Conceptual Similarities Self-Esteem Protection: Public or Private?.- Section Summary.- Summary.- V. Implications for Specific Problems in Social and Personality Psychology.- 14. Relationship Between Self-Report and Behavior.- Problems of Measurement.- Levels of Specificity of Self-Report and Behavior.- Insufficient Sampling of Behavior.- Assessment of Behavioral Inconsistency.- Conceptual Problems.- Veridicality of Self-Reports.- The Role of Direct Experience in Attitude Formation.- Relevance of Attitudes as Behavioral Standards.- Self-Awareness and the Use of Evoked Attitudes.- Types of Self-Report.- 15. Social Facilitation.- Drive Theory and Social Facilitation.- Alternative Drive Theories.- Control Theory and Social Facilitation.- Comparisons Among Theories.- Evidence Regarding Mediating States.- Self-Focus and Comparison with Standards.- Drive.- Palmar Sweat and Social Facilitation.- Results and Discussion.- Additional Questions.- Social Interference.- Comparisons Among Manipulations.- Physiological Response Patterning.- 16. Private and Public Selves.- Self-Completion, or Self-Presentation?.- Impact on Research Areas.- Self, or Selves?.- Aspects of Self.- Implications.- The Consciousness of Public Versus Private Self-Aspects.- Public and Private Selves in a Compliance Setting.- Public and Private Selves and Reactions to Coercion.- The Public Expression of Privately Held Opinions.- Private and Public Self-Awareness Reinterpreting Other Research.- Section Summary.- Self-Monitoring.- Summary, Critique, and Integration.- 17. Cognitive Dissonance.- Self-Attention and Dissonance.- Public and Private Self-Aspects Tests of the Public-Private Analysis.- Self-Focus Manipulations and Dissonance Reduction.- Self-Consciousness and Dissonance Reduction.- Relationship to Other Dissonance Research.- Dissonance, or Impression Management?.- VI. Conclusion.- 18. Afterword: Theory and Meta-Theory.- Changes in the Learning Paradigm.- Meta-Theoretical Issues.- Reinforcement.- Control Theory.- Conclusion.- References.- Author Index.
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