Samstag, 26. Mai 2018

Self regulation as a two-level system:

Russell A. Barkley, Executive Functions


>SR (or EF here) has been usefully viewed by many different theorists as a two-level system (Carver & Scheier, 2011; Eisenberg et al., 2011; Hofmann et al., 2011; Koole, van Dillen, & Sheppes, 2011; McRae, Ochsner, & Gross, 2011). The first level attends to “the now” and is automatic, pre-executive, unconscious, stimulus-driven, and largely reactive (Kahneman, 2011). It was discussed in the previous chapter. It is often focused on primitive features of the environment, both internal and external, and it is evident in other mammals. It involves a host of psychological abilities or evolved mental modules for situation detection, attentional control, event appraisal, and response generation. It serves to achieve immediate or near-term goals, and it largely focuses on the flow of events in “the now.”

The second level is the executive, effortful, conscious one that attends to the future. It is the EF level that intervenes in and otherwise strives to regulate the automatic level in the service of longer-term goals across larger spans of time. It is focused on the flow of potential events lying ahead in the future, and it relies on mental representations (internal actions) to guide and adjust the motor system so as to alter the likelihood of potential future events. It seeks to wrest control of the “now” automatic system in the service of mental representations of longer-term goals and related information. ... It is within this second level that the EF components discussed earlier exist. They generate and sustain the mental representations that will cause the “top-down” regulation of the automatic level of human action (Badre, 2008; Banich, 2009; Botvinich, 2008; Hofmann et al., 2011).<

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>As others have noted (Fishbach & Converse, 2011; Mischel & Ayduk, 2011), SR (and so EF) is most often initiated whenever immediate desires conflict with more important longer-term goals. Resolving the conflict in favor of the longer-term goal demands SR (and so EF). Successful SR involves (1) identifying that a conflict between “the now” and “the future” actually exists and (2) asymmetric shifting of motivational strengths to favor the longer-term goal (and so diminish the natural tendency to discount the delayed outcome). Identifying that a conflict exists also involves (1) identifying and calculating the costs of each alternative for both the short term and long term; and (2) placing the immediate temptation in the perspective of a larger time frame (called width). Viewed in isolation, immediate desire poses no conflict. But it does when viewed as one event within a wider perspective on time, relative to other desires and over repeated instances. The wider the reference frame, the greater the likelihood of detecting such conflicts and so of initiating SR to combat them successfully.<

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