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Session Overview
SYM-07: Theoretical Challenges for Motivational Regulation: Action-Related Considerations Revisited
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Thomas Martens, DIPF
Discussant: Alexander Minnaert, University of Groningen
Organizer: Thomas Martens, DIPF
Location: 254

Session Abstract

Motivational regulation is applied in very diverse research contexts and in very diverse theoretical frameworks. Often, the theoretical implications correspond very closely with the empirical setting. A change in the empirical setting might often cause the theoretical expected outcomes to vanish. If we don’t want to have theoretical explanation for each empirical setting, broader theoretical foundations have to be identified. The three proposed theoretical approaches proposed in this symposium are all quite complex and try to combine motivational regulation and action-related theories. The overarching character of these proposals leads to quite complex theories. Therefore, it might be difficult to test all given assumptions empirically – at least not simultaneously. The contributions in this symposium explore different ways of incorporating action-related ideas. The first contribution follows an idea by Andreas Krapp to claim conceptual independence between intrinsic and extrinsic motives and link these motives to different valences that determine the readiness for action. The second contribution builds on consideration from action theory – often applied in workplace psychology. The two main dimensions are action phases and the distinction between of conscious and unconsciousness processes. The third contribution is based on the ideas of Julius Kuhl who proposes 4 macro systems for action-related processes and specifies motivational regulation in three main phases of action generation. All three contributions strive after integration of emotion and cognition as well as unconscious and conscious processes. The comparison of the three solutions for this integration problem should lead to a common understanding of future theoretical development.


Towards a unified theory of task-specific motivation

Cornelis J. de Brabander, Rob L. Martens

Open University of the Netherlands, Netherlands, The

So-called extrinsic and intrinsic types of motives appear in every conceptualization of task-related motivation. A central subject of theoretical debate between different conceptualizations concerns the relation between the two. Some theories view intrinsic and extrinsic motives as different aspects of the umbrella concept of expected value. Other perspectives conceive extrinsic and intrinsic motives as oppositional motives on one and the same dimension. A discussion of several theories representing these different positions lead to the conclusion that both positions have their merits. It is argued that this controversy can be resolved by a third perspective, proposed by Andreas Krapp, that claims conceptual independence between intrinsic and extrinsic motives. According to this view intrinsic motivation (coined here as affective valence) is produced by an affective behavioral regulation system, whereas extrinsic motivation (coined here as cognitive valence) is created by a cognitive regulation system. Affective valence involves feelings about an action situation that rise automatically and irrespective of any act of will. Cognitive valence on the other hand involves an active and conscious articulation and valuation of outcomes of an activity. The two regulation systems are fundamentally separate, but interact intricately, allowing both for coherence and controversy between the two types of valence. This interaction leads to a expected valence that determines readiness for action.

Based on this conceptualisation an integration of different theories is proposed in a tentative model of task-specific motivation that, in addition to affective and cognitive valence, includes personal and contextual aspects of autonomy, competence, relatedness and social support.

Converging perspectives on self-regulation and learning – Affects and emotions as driving forces of action

Detlef Sembill, Andreas Rausch, Julia Warwas

University of Bamberg, Germany

Former images of man as a cognitive machine in which emotions are only disturbing seem overcome—at least, in the scientific community. Nevertheless, instead of the integration of different strands of psychology, the last decades were rather characterised by further fragmentation. We propose a model of action-regulation following approaches of action theory. Common core concepts of action theories are: (1) the horizontal subdivision of stages of action connected in a cybernetic model, (2) the structural analogy of acting, thinking, learning, and problem solving, (3) the vertical differentiation between conscious and unconscious regulation, and (4) an image of man in line with “constructivist” perspectives. Apart from inconsistent terminologies, the framework of action theory still offers great potentials of integrating fragmented approaches from cognitive, motivation, emotion psychology and other branches of psychology. Within our contribution to the symposium we will outline our model of action-regulation and, besides psychological approaches, furthermore, discuss findings from neuroscientific research leading to similar conclusions. We will emphasise affects and emotions—and, thus, motivation—as integral to acting, thinking, problem solving, and learning. Finally, with regard to the modelling and measuring of competence, a mismatch is observed in terms of a neglect of emotional aspects. Reasons and consequences of this discrepancy are discussed, as well.

Towards a Common Theoretical Base for Motivational Regulation: an Integrated Model of Learning and Action

Thomas Martens1, Julius Kuhl2

1DIPF, Germany; 2University Osnabrück

This contribution aims to integrate affective and cognitive, conscious and subconscious processes of motivational regulation and learning into a common theoretical approach. Such integration is particularly grounded in action theoretical approaches.

Research in the field of self-regulated learning has drawn on findings from action research. Respective metacognitive parts are nowadays integrated into almost all approaches to self-regulation learning (e.g. Winne & Hadwin, 1998). However, self-regulation theory has so far not undertaken a very consequent reconstruction of learning processes. For this purpose, the Integrated Action Model presented by Martens and Rost (1998) is transferred to learning processes. The subsequent ideas are grounded in a theoretical model suggested by Kuhl (2000) and according to the Integrated Action Model these ideas are expanded to three process phases of a complete learning action: The motivation phase refers to the development of a learning motivation, i.e. the need arises to reduce a learning related discrepancy between the state as it is and the state that is desired. In the intention phase, a learning intention is created which can fulfil this learning motivation. In the volition phase, finally, a learning intention is translated into a real learning action. The proposed model was successfully applied in different empirical contexts and could trigger more empirical research, e.g. to explain different phenomena in the field of motivational regulation, e.g. stereotype threat, reinforcement effect on motivation, procrastination and probably many more.

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