On the roots in the ability to control outcomes of human motivation

Justin M. Moscarello, Catherine A. Hartley, Agency and the Calibration of Motivated Behavior, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 21, Issue 10, 2017, Pages 725-735, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.06.008.

The controllability of positive or negative environmental events has long been recognized as a critical factor determining their impact on an organism. In studies across species, controllable and uncontrollable reinforcement have been found to yield divergent effects on subsequent behavior. Here we present a model of the organizing influence of control, or a lack thereof, on the behavioral repertoire. We propose that individuals derive a generalizable estimate of agency from controllable and uncontrollable outcomes, which serves to calibrate their behavioral strategies in a manner that is most likely to be adaptive given their prior experience.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation