This book presents a thorough overview of a model of human functioning based on the idea that behavior is goal-directed and regulated by feedback control processes. It describes feedback processes and their application to behavior, considers goals and the idea that goals are organized hierarchically, examines affect as deriving from a different kind of feedback process, and analyzes how success expectancies influence whether people keep trying to attain goals or disengage. Later sections consider a series of emerging themes, including dynamic (...) systems as a model for shifting among goals, catastrophe theory as a model for persistence, and the question of whether behavior is controlled or instead 'emerges'. Three chapters consider the implications of these various ideas for understanding maladaptive behavior, and the closing chapter asks whether goals are a necessity of life. Throughout, theory is presented in the context of diverse issues that link the theory to other literatures. (shrink)
Affective dynamics are discussed from the perspective of a view of origin and functions of affective valence based in control processes. This view posits that affect reflects the error signal of a feedback loop managing rate of progress at goal attainment or threat avoidance. Negative feelings signal doing poorly, demanding more effort. Positive feelings signal doing better than necessary, allowing coasting, which yields goal attainment without unnecessary resource expenditure. Given multiple simultaneous goals, these functions assist in moment-to-moment priority management, facilitating (...) attainment of all. (shrink)
Understanding how emotions emerge is difficult without determining what characteristic of the trigger actually triggers them. Knowing whether emotional experiences self-stabilize is difficult without remembering what other processes are set in play as the emotion emerges. It is not clear either that positive feedback is required for the emergence of emotion or that an attractor model captures well what is happening when an emotion arises.