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17 - Is Behavior Controlled or Does It Emerge?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Charles S. Carver
Affiliation:
University of Miami
Michael F. Scheier
Affiliation:
Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
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Summary

Thus far in the book we've tried to build a conceptual edifice that portrays a self-regulating person, including problems. In this chapter we do something different. We raise the question of whether we've been leading you down a primrose path.

In our earlier discussions we evaded some questions. In this chapter we confront one of them, from several different angles (evading others successfully for the rest of the book). In particular, we've assumed that self-regulation at the level of our interest tends to involve something resembling an executive process. People form intentions to do things, then they go and do them. But is this assumption necessary? Is it a mistake?

Conceptual bases for raising this question occur in several literatures. The literatures are intriguing, and the points they make are very different from those made elsewhere in this book. We address three of them here: the literature of coordinations (which leads us back into the domain of dynamic systems), the literature of connectionism, and the literature of robotics (see Montefiore & Noble, 1989, for other views on these questions).

COORDINATION AND COMPLEXITY EMERGENT FROM SIMPLE SOURCES

The literature of coordinations focuses largely on coordination of physical movement. This literature is substantial, dealing with many interesting questions (e.g., Kugler & Turvey, 1987; Turvey, 1990), but our present interest is confined to a few of its themes.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1998

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