Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain

By Dennis E. Mithaug | Go to book overview

of objectives to be fulfilled and values implicated by the choice; (3) carefully weigh the positive and negative consequences of each alternative; (4) intensely search for new information and evaluate alternatives; (5) correctly assimilate new information; (6) reexamine positive and negative consequences of alternatives; and (7) detail provisions for implementing chosen alternatives. 30 Robin Hogarth recommended a similar sequence in Judgement and Choice: The Psychology of Decision: (1) structure the problem, (2) assess consequences, (3) assess uncertainties, (4) evaluate alternatives, (5) analyze sensitively, (6) gather information, and (7) choose. 31 All models reduce to Dewey's "What is the problem?" "What are the alternatives?" and "Which alternative is best?" Table 2.1 lists comparable applications in education.

The nature of problem solving has not changed since Newton publication of Principia in 1687, nor has it changed since the first nomad of ancient times noticed unusual growth on the moist banks of the great Nile following a flood. What stimulates solution searching is still "a state of doubt, hesitation, perplexity, mental difficulty, in which thinking originates," and what generates solution finding is "an act of searching, hunting, inquiring, to find material that will resolve the doubt, settle and dispose of the perplexity." 32

What has changed is the development of systematic searches, selections, uses, and reuses of solutions to achieve prescribed goals. This is what several centuries of trial and error problem solving have improved upon. The human species and its social organizations have learned to regulate problem solving to optimize adjustments and maximize gains toward culturally defined goals.

Dewey's problem solving steps describe only one-half of that regulatory process--the component that connects problem identification with solution finding. The second half involves another mechanism--one that implements and tests solutions for their contribution toward goal attainment. The next chapter describes this mechanism and how it interacts with problem solving to explain self- regulated problem solving to meet a goal.


Notes
1.
James Burke, Connections ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1978), 9.
2.
Ibid.
4.
Ibid.
5.
Alexander Hellemans and Bryan Bunch, The Timetables of Science: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in the History of Science ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), 3.
8.
Ibid.
9.
Ibid.
10.
Richard T. La Piere, Social Change ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 334.
11.
Ibid.

-40-

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Self-Regulation Theory: How Optimal Adjustment Maximizes Gain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xv
  • Chapter 1 - The Problem of Adaptation 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 the Nature of Problem Solving 19
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 3 - The Theory of Self-Regulation 43
  • Notes 61
  • Chapter 4 - Self-Regulated Thinking 63
  • Notes 81
  • Chapter 5 - Self-Regulated Doing 85
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 6 - Maximum Gain 119
  • Notes 146
  • Chapter 7 - Self-Determined Gain 149
  • Notes 178
  • Chapter 8 - Innovative Gain 183
  • Conclusion 205
  • Appendix 209
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 223
  • About the Author 235
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