Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

Synopsis

Mithaug's Self-Regulation Theory explains how people optimize their adjustments in order to maximize their gains toward getting what they want from their environments. Although the 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 allows the theory to predict precise relationships between self-regulated gain towards goal attainment and its consequences. It also permits the theory to demonstrate how such concepts as competence, intelligence, self-determination, and innovation are logical derivatives of self-regulation and gain.

Excerpt

One explanation for how we have managed to populate our planet so extensively and dominate its environmental niches so completely is that we have evolved. Millions of years of natural selection favoring some species over others and some structures and functions over others have allowed our species to survive and, in some cases, to thrive. We have built cultural cushions to protect us from the environmental forces that decimated less flexible competitors.

Unfortunately, the downside of our cultural shield is that it too is a selective force--one step removed from the environment it defends us against. the cultures we construct for adaptive advantage turn upon us to constrain our thinking and acting when we stray from their historic underpinnings. Try as we may to throw off our cultural yokes and move to new and exciting opportunities, we plod on as before. Contrary to popular writing, the miracle of our survival is not that we always adjust, but that we ever do.

Probably the best context for understanding when and how we adjust is in the application of propositions from Darwin's theory of evolution that have some cogency when used to explain cultural change over generational time. Human beliefs and practices that pass from generation to generation contain sufficient reality-based wisdom to allow progeny to survive somewhat better than their ancestors. Once "proved effective," new practices are shared within the group and then are added to the cultural repertoire and transmitted to offspring. the process continues inexorably, and its cultural dos and don'ts grow exponentially. in the struggle for survival and competitive edge, advantage goes to the species with the best "know-how" in dealing with environmental circumstance. in the past few million years, Homo sapiens has transmitted enough useful information to its offspring to permit them to compete globally for domination and control over vast and varied terrains.

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