SELF-EFFICACY: THE EXERCISE OF CONTROL
An outline composed by Gio Valiante
CHAPTER 1 - THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES (1)
- People strive to control events that affect their lives.
- This need permeates everything that individuals do.
- Uncertainty in important matters is unsettling.
- People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what
they believe than on what is objectively true.
- Belief that one can produce desired effects provides incentive to act.
- Efficacy beliefs are, thus, a major source of action.
- Perceived self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and
execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments (3).
- Efficacy beliefs influence:
- courses of action
- perseverance in the face of obstacles and failures
- resilience to adversity
- whether thought patterns are self-hindering or self-aiding
- stress and depression in taxing situations
- level of accomplishment realized
The Nature of Human Agency (3)
- People can exercise influence over what they do. Agency refers to acts done
- Beliefs of personal efficacy constitute the key factor of human agency.
- One can intentionally originate novel, coherent thoughts.
- Thought processes are emergent brain activities that are not ontologically
- Thought processes exert influence.
- Once formed, efficacy beliefs regulate aspirations, behavioral courses, effort, and affective reactions.
- thus, people bring cognitive productions into being by intentional exercise of personal agency
- Social cognitive theory rejects dualism.
- There is one self, not subject/object.
- In self-reflection, individuals are subject and object.
Human Agency in Triadic Reciprocal Causation (5)
- Personal factors, behavior, and environmental events interact and influence each
- Influence of each varies depending on task.
- Agency works within a sociostructural influence.
- Social structures are created by human activity.
- There is variation within social structures.
- Efficacious people enforce their will within these social structures.
- Inefficacious people are less apt to exploit opportunities.
- Human behavior must be thought of in terms of self and social influences.
Determinism and the Exercise of Self-Influence (7)
- Because behavior is co-determined by many factors operating interactively, given
events produce effects probabilistically, not inevitably.
- freedom is defined as the exercise of self-influence to bring about desired
- Self-Influences operate on behavior the same way external influences do. Thus,
some measure of freedom is possible through
- Alternatives we consider.
- How we foresee, weight, and visualize outcomes.
- How we appraise abilities to execute different options.
- Individuals behave differently in an efficacious as opposed to an inefficacious
frame of mind. Nevertheless, they remain agents of thoughts, effort, and actions.
- "In short, human behavior is determined partly by the individual rather than
solely by the environment" (9).
Related Views of Personal Efficacy (10)
- Composite view of oneself formed through experience and feedback from others.
- Efficacy beliefs are more complex than self-concept beliefs.
- they vary across domains
- vary within the same domain
- vary at different levels with different circumstances
- Self-Esteem - judgment of self worth.
- Efficacy judgments are judgments of capability, not judgments of self-worth.
- Effectance Motivation.
- This motive is conceptualized as an intrinsic need to deal effectively with the environment.
- The effectance motive presumably develops through cumulative acquisition of knowledge and skills in managing the environment.
- Efficacy beliefs vary and are more conditional and contextual.
- Proxy Control
- In this socially mediated mode of control, people try to get those who wield influence and power to act on their behalf to effect the changes they desire. (17)
- Price of proxy control is vulnerable security (comfort rests with others).
- Efficacious people do not place their fate in the hands of others.
- Type A personalities master task demands impatiently and with time
- Inadvertent Relinquishment of Control
- Many factors operate in everyday life to undermine efficaciuos use of the knowledge and skills that people possess.
- As a result, they do not exercise the personal control that is fully within their capabilities.
- contextual, i.e., when winners lose to inferior opponents due to settings or
- Racial and gender stereotypes.
- Formidable looking opponents often lower efficacy.
- Outcome Expectancy Theories
- According to expectancy-valence theories, performance is jointly influenced by the expectancy that behaving in a particular way will lead to a given outcome and the desirability of that outcome.
- Human behavior would be best predicted by a combination of efficacy beliefs and types of performance outcomes.
- People's beliefs in their efficacy affect almost everything they do
- how they think
- motivate themselves
- behave (19)
- Self-efficacy, Outcome Expectations, and Control
- "To claim that people visualize outcomes, and then infer their capabilities is to invoke backward causation . . . people do not judge that they will drown if they jump in deep
water, ad then infer that they must be poor swimmers. Rather, people who judge themselves poor swimmers will visualize themselves drowning if they jump in deep water" (21).
- Performances versus Outcomes
- A performance is not an outcome. Performance is an accomplishment. Outcomes follow from performances.
- exercise: A, B, C, D, & F are markers for various levels of performance; harassment, praise, etc. . . are outcomes
- "When performance determines outcomes, efficacy beliefs account for most of the variance in expected outcomes" (24).
- Possible Selves.
- People conjure up specific self images of future successes and failures. These possible selves are constructed from
- personal experiences,
- actual and symbolic models,
- sociocultural influences that
- provide a framework to interpret experience
- influence how we think about potential and options
- guide action
- motivate us toward selected goals (25)
- positive selves guide and motivate while unwanted selves block
action and prompt avoidance
- Control Beliefs
- A control event consists of an agent using certain means to give rise to outcomes.
- Three sets of beliefs about the exercise of control
- Agency beliefs refer to whether one possesses the appropriate means
- Unknown factors
- Means to ends beliefs refer to whether these means are effective in
producing desired events and preventing undesired ones
- Control beliefs refer t whether one can produce desired events and avoid
undesirable ones independent of any means
- *Means do not operate on outcomes directly, thus, this tripartite model is
missing performance. Means do not operate on outcomes directly, rather
they give rise to certain performances then produce outcomes (27).
- Primary versus Secondary Control (29)
- Primary control - efforts to change existing realities.
- Secondary control - accommodation to environment.
- Adapting to existing realities.
- Ameliorating distress over realities.
- As in Piaget's theory of cognitive development
- Cognitive incongruities are resolved by assimilation or accommodation.
- Assimilation - people interpret reality in ways that fit their beliefs.
- Accommodation - change beliefs to fit reality.
- "in short, human functioning is not compartmentalized into changing the environment or changing oneself . . . human adaptation and change are better explained by the dynamic interplay of different coping strategies then by categorizing them into types" (31).
- Self-Efficacy in Individualistic and Collectivistitic Social Systems (31)
- Global classifications mask diversity within systems.
- Individualistic cultures differ.
- Collectivistic systems differ.
- East Asian cultures founded on Buddhism or Confucianism have
particular values, meanings, symbols
- Within the United States
- New England individualism is different from the Californian version.
- Cultural orientations must be treated as multifaceted dynamic influences in
exploring how efficacy beliefs affect functioning. "People live their lives
neither entirely autonomously nor entirely interdependently in any society"
- Group achievements and social change are rooted in self-efficacy
- In collective systems, people work together to produce benefits they
- Inveterate self-doubters are not easily organized into a collectively
- Enablement versus Moralization (33)
- "Self-efficacy is concerned with human enablement, not with moral judgments" (33).
- "People make causal contributions to their lives, but they are not the sole causes of their destinies" (33).
- The Self-Efficacy Component of Social Cognitive Theory (34)
- Self-efficacy works in concert with other determinants within social cognitive
theory to govern human thought, motivation, and action.
- Cognitive guidance is especially influential in the early and intermediate
phases of skill development.
- Behavior becomes routinized (James's habit?) and no longer needs higher
cognitive control. Execution can be regulated by lower level sensory motor systems.
- Tending to mechanics of what one is doing after proficiency is achieved is likely to disrupt performance.
- Partial disengagement of thought from proficient action has considerable functional value.
- When situations change, personal efficacy is promptly reappraised as the guide for action.
- As long as people believe in their ability, they act habitually.
- Routinization is advantageous when the skills that have been acquired are optimal ones.
- Routinization is self-limiting when people settle for low level pursuits on the basis of self-doubts and no longer reappraise their capabilities.
- "Insidious self-doubts can easily overrule the best of skills" (35).
Warning! Chapters are still under construction.