Self Regulation case – Professor EX

Self Regulation case – Professor EX

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


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

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

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–


= 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:

Historical Model–
PLANS: Criticism