Self-regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain
The author's Self-Regulation Theory explains how people optimize their adjustments in order to maximize their gains toward getting what they want from their environments. It describes the reciprocal effects of human adjustment and environmental change. The interaction among what regulators expect, how they choose, and what they do affects and is affected by optimal and suboptimal environmental contingencies. Although Self-Regulation Theory is consistent with current behavioral, cognitive, and cognitive-behavioral models of adjustment, it goes beyond them by describing the problem-solving and solution-doing mechanisms that lead to optimal adjustments and maximal gains. This permits the theory to predict precise relationships between self-regulated gain towards goal attainment and the consequences of goal attainment. Although the conclusions do not contradict generally accepted views, they challenge current perspectives on how to define and analyze the problem of adaptation. By separating the mechanism of self-regulation from the environmental effect it produces, we can examine the unique contribution of the self-regulating system to its own success or failure. Also, by defining environmental optimalities from the perspective of the regulator, we can assess how the same menu of environmental opportunities changes from being suboptimal to optimal as a function of the regulator's success in adjusting.
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The Nature of Problem Solving
Figures and Tables
The Theory of SelfRegulation
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achieve action adaptive Allen Newell alternatives arrow B.F. Skinner battery choice contingencies Choice Proposition choosing closer to optimal cognitive competent and persistent consequences cost described Dewey differences between options dissonance effectively and efficiently environment environmental ethic expectation proposition expectations for gain expected gain explain factors feedback seeking Figure gain toward goal goal and choice goal attainment goal contingency Herbert Simon human Hypothesis Ibid identify increases individual innovation interact italics John John Dewey learning match matching law maximize maximum gain means-ends means-ends analysis Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi motivation Napoleon Hill operations optimal adjustment optimal the past organisms Panel past gain percent performance postulated predict principle problem solving produce gain Protestant pursuit R. R. Palmer rational reflective regulation regulatory reinforcement Research response proposition Science selection self-control self-determination self-regulated problem self-regulated thinking Self-regulation theory self-regulatory behavior social solution suboptimal success task York