Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
In 1981 we published a book in which we argued that feedback processes are important in the self-regulation of human behavior, that these processes underlie not just the body's internal maintenance activities, but even behavior that's consciously controlled. That book was a research monograph, reporting many experiments in detail. It was hard to read for plot.
Since 1981 we've realized that the line of thought we described there can be extended in several additional ways. This book revisits the themes of 1981 and adds several extrapolations from the earlier model – some our own, some developed by others. We discuss the latter in a way that's maximally compatible with our own ideas, to try to tell a coherent story. In doing this, we've tried not to do serious violence to ideas whose origins lie with people other than ourselves.
This book is in some respects a continuation of the earlier one. It's an easier read, partly because it's thinner on data. What dominates the stage in this book are ideas and speculations. This is very much a point-of-view book, and speculation plays a larger role here than in the earlier one. We've stretched to make connections across literatures, even where the links are tenuous. We hope these connections will cause you to consider some possibilities you might not otherwise have thought about.
To Whom This Book Is Written
We wrote this book to overview a set of ideas that we find interesting and useful about how behavior occurs in the behaving person.