Article

Being someone: A neuropsychological model of the integrative self

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Fully functioning persons are characterized by a unity in thought, emotion, and action that amounts to “being someone” or having “an integrated self”. Psychologists have typically treated the integrated self as merely a descriptive term that summarizes significant behavioral achievements. In the present article, the authors seek to place the integrated self on firmer theoretical grounds, by relating the integrated self to a neurobiological system with distinct processing characteristics. Building on personality systems interactions theory (Kuhl, 2000b), the authors suggest that the integrated self is supported by parallel-distributed processing in the right anterior cortex. From this neuropsychological model, the authors derive seven functions of the integrated self: Emotional connectedness, broad vigilance, utilization of felt feedback, unconscious processing, integration of negative experiences, extended resilience, and extended trust. The authors discuss the seven functions and their mutual relations, along with relevant behavioral and neurobiological evidence. Finally, the authors highlight the importance of positive relationships for optimal development of the integrated self, and discuss how the integrated self might be further cultivated to improve self-regulation and health.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Results revealed that subjects in the rational-reasoning condition were less satisfied with their choice when asked about 3 weeks after the experimental session compared to subjects who chose a poster intuitively. Reduced levels of satisfaction in the analytical group may have occurred because analytic processing typically abstracts from the emotional and personal meaning of a decision at hand (Kuhl et al., 2015). In other words, analytic processes reduce the complexity of a problem by breaking ambiguous information down to one aspect that is important in a particular situation (Dijksterhuis, 2004; Kuhl et al., 2015). ...
... Reduced levels of satisfaction in the analytical group may have occurred because analytic processing typically abstracts from the emotional and personal meaning of a decision at hand (Kuhl et al., 2015). In other words, analytic processes reduce the complexity of a problem by breaking ambiguous information down to one aspect that is important in a particular situation (Dijksterhuis, 2004; Kuhl et al., 2015). This is of advantage for logical problem solving but of disadvantage when the problem includes divergent aspects that need to be considered (e.g., solving a complex personal problem; interpersonal relationships; dealing with an illness; see Kuhl et al., 2015). ...
... In other words, analytic processes reduce the complexity of a problem by breaking ambiguous information down to one aspect that is important in a particular situation (Dijksterhuis, 2004; Kuhl et al., 2015). This is of advantage for logical problem solving but of disadvantage when the problem includes divergent aspects that need to be considered (e.g., solving a complex personal problem; interpersonal relationships; dealing with an illness; see Kuhl et al., 2015). For the latter problem type, intuitive decision-making seems to be advantageous. ...
Full-text available
Article
Whereas in basic research, intuition has become a topic of great interest, clinical research and depression research in specific have not applied to the topic of intuition, yet. This is astonishing because a well-known phenomenon during depression is that patients have difficulties to judge and decide. In contrast to healthy individuals who take most daily-life decisions intuitively (Kahneman, 2011), depressed individuals seem to have difficulties to come to fast and adaptive decisions. The current article pursues three goals. First, our aim is to establish the hypothesis that intuition is impaired in depression against the background of influential theoretical accounts as well as empirical evidence from basic and clinical research. The second aim of the current paper is to provide explanations for recent findings on the depression-intuition interplay and to present directions for future research that may help to broaden our understanding of decision difficulties in depression. Third, we seek to propose ideas on how therapeutic interventions can support depressed individuals in taking better decisions. Even though our knowledge regarding this topic is still limited, we will tentatively launch the idea that an important first step may be to enhance patients’ access to intuitions. Overall, this paper seeks to introduce the topic of intuition to clinical research on depression and to hereby set the stage for upcoming theory and practice.
... Vitality is not only a mental state, but also relates to healthy bodily functioning (see also Ryan & Frederick, 1997). Due to this integrated mind-body nature, vitality represents an organismic construct (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015;Ryan, Kuhl, & Deci, 1997). Somatic factors such as diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and substance use have for instance been shown to influence vitality (Rozanski & Kubzansky, 2005). ...
... According to Personality Systems Interactions (PSI) theory (Kuhl, 2000), this coping may be facilitated by volitional processes. Volition in this conception is a higher form of action control that allows the person to coordinate a multitude of specific motivational directives in a coherent manner (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). Because volition operates at a general level, it affords the person with greater flexibility in adjusting to increases in external demands. ...
Full-text available
Article
Vitality, or feeling alive and full of energy, is a universal human experience that is grounded in the body and linked to positive motivation, health, and wellbeing. Prior work demonstrated that demanding conditions can lower vitality, presumably by undermining intrinsic need satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2008). In the present research, we examined if such devitalizing effects of demands are moderated by individual differences in action versus state orientation. Action-oriented people have been found to efficiently disengage from demands, whereas state-oriented people tend to get preoccupied by them. We therefore hypothesized that state-oriented people would suffer more from the devitalizing effects of demands than action-oriented people. As expected, Study 1 (N = 171) showed that life demands were associated with lower body vitality among people higher in state orientation, but not among people higher in action orientation. Study 2 (N = 259) replicated the main findings of Study 1, and showed that priming demands lowered body vitality among people higher in state orientation, but not among people higher in action orientation. Study 3 (N = 541) provided a pre-registered replication of Study 1, and showed that the observed effects were not due to variations in subjective wellbeing, general vitality, or mood. Taken together, these findings suggest that action-state orientation plays a key role in maintaining the self's energetic resources.
... Vitality is not only a mental state, but also relates to healthy bodily functioning (see also Ryan & Frederick, 1997). Due to this integrated mind-body nature, vitality represents an organismic construct (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015;Ryan, Kuhl, & Deci, 1997). Somatic factors such as diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and substance use have for instance been shown to influence vitality (Rozanski & Kubzansky, 2005). ...
... According to Personality Systems Interactions (PSI) theory (Kuhl, 2000), this coping may be facilitated by volitional processes. Volition in this conception is a higher form of action control that allows the person to coordinate a multitude of specific motivational directives in a coherent manner (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). Because volition operates at a general level, it affords the person with greater flexibility in adjusting to increases in external demands. ...
Article
Vitality, or feeling alive and full of energy, is a universal human experience that is grounded in the body and linked to positive motivation, health, and wellbeing. Prior work demonstrated that demanding conditions can lower vitality, presumably by undermining intrinsic need satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2008). In the present research, we examined if the devitalizing effects of demands are moderated by individual differences in action versus state orientation. Prior work has shown that action-oriented people can efficiently disengage from demands, whereas state-oriented people tend to get preoccupied by them. We therefore hypothesized that state-oriented people would suffer more from the devitalizing effects of demands than action-oriented people. As expected, Study 1 (N = 171) found that life demands were associated with lower body vitality among people higher in state orientation, but not among people higher in action orientation. Study 2 (N = 259) replicated the findings of Study 1, and showed that priming demands lowered body vitality among people higher in state orientation, but not among people higher in action orientation. Study 3 (N = 541) provided a pre-registered replication of Study 1, and showed that the effects were not due to variations in subjective wellbeing, general vitality, or mood. These findings suggest that action-state orientation plays a key role in maintaining the self’s energetic resources.
... This person-oriented form of emotion regulation derives from existential/humanistic approaches to personality (e.g., Maslow, 1968;Frankl, 1985), and has deep roots in Asian philosophy (Cahn & Polich, 2006;Tang & Posner, 2009) and many religious traditions (Koole, McCullough, Kuhl, & Roelofsma, 2012). These seemingly disparate paradigms have converged on notions of self-regulatory process that goes beyond fragments of the self (such as goals or hedonic needs), and rather encompasses the functioning of the whole person (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). In person-oriented emotion regulation, the person's functioning is coordinated by integrating as many subsystems and processes as possible for supporting a chosen course of action. ...
... These integrated networks of personality systems are closely connected with the autonomic nervous system. Person-oriented emotion regulation is not mediated by explicit intentions, but rather by integrated feelings or intuitions about appropriate courses of action (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). ...
... Personality Systems Interaction (PSI) Theory is a general theory of personality that grew out of an attempt to understand why some people seem more easily able to enact their intentions than others (Kuhl & Beckmann, 1994, p. 1f, p.9), a theory whose main exposition amounts to over 1200 pages and is available in German only (Kuhl, 2001); outlines available in the English language include Kuhl (2000); Kuhl and Koole (2004); Kuhl, Kazén and Quirin (2014); Koole Sander, Caroline, Tobias and Nicola (2019) as well as the recent volume edited by Baumann, Kazén, Quirin and Koole (2018). One aspect of this comprehensive theory is a theory of the self (Kuhl, Quirin & Koole, 2015), which in turn is the basis for Kuhl's attempt to prove compatibility of religious (specifically, Catholic) faith with today's scientific knowledge (Kuhl, 2015). ...
Full-text available
Book
The annual Applied Positive Psychology Symposium dates back to the inaugural symposium held in May 2015, designed as an opportunity for the first cohort of graduates of the MSc Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at Bucks to present their completed dissertation work to a wider audience, and prepare papers for the symposium’s Proceedings. Since then, the symposium has grown considerably in scope, aiming to build a community of education and new research in the fast-growing field of applied positive psychology, from across the UK and now Ireland as well. MAPP programmes can currently be found in the UK at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Buckinghamshire New University (Bucks), and the University of East London (UEL). Other universities also offer some positive psychology courses as part of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. This Proceedings represents the contributions of students, graduates, and staff of many of these programmes to the 5th Applied Positive Psychology Symposium held on Saturday 1st June 2019 at the Buckinghamshire New University High Wycombe campus. This symposium has proved a real success and has only grown in popularity, scope, and engagement each year, with ever more contributions from other MAPP and university positive psychology programmes. We were delighted to be able to return for a fifth year which was our largest event yet, necessitating parallel sessions for the first time, to accommodate a full programme of talks, quickfire ‘flash’ presentations, practical workshops, a video presentation, poster presentations, and even a brief magic show(!), and attracting an audience of 80+. This year we welcomed a number of students from UEL and for the first time University College Cork, Ireland, to present their work, as well as Goldsmiths London, and staff from the University of Buckingham, alongside many Bucks MAPP students and returning graduates. The applied nature of the MAPP courses emphasises using evidence-based practices to actively improve lives and institutions, and MAPP students are at the forefront of this relatively new discipline, contributing innovative and important research, solutions, and products. We hope you enjoy this year’s exciting offerings in this Proceedings.
... The final result was Personality Systems Interactions (PSI) theory. PSI theory and its applications have been published in many English-language publications (e.g., Kuhl, 2000a,b,c;Kuhl & Baumann, 2000;Kuhl & Koole, 2004Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). However, the most important publication on PSI theory is once again a book: Kuhl's (2001) magnum opus. ...
Full-text available
Chapter
This chapter reviews the scholarly career of Julius Kuhl and the academic context in which he developed his work. Kuhl began his doctoral training in the late 1970s under supervision of motivation psychologists Heinz Heckhausen and Herbert Götzl at the University of Bochum, Germany. Subsequently, as a postdoc working with John Atkinson at the University of Michigan, Kuhl conducted computer simulations on the dynamics of motivated action. Returning to Germany in the early 1980s, Kuhl developed a new theory of volitional action control that kick-started the revival of German will psychology. In this context, Kuhl also developed a measure of individual differences in volitional efficiency, or action versus state orientation. In second half of the 1980s, Kuhl became professor at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, where he and his team developed several new experimental paradigms for studying volition. The theoretical integration of this work came about in the late 1990s, when Kuhl articulated Personality Systems Interactions (PSI) theory, a comprehensive theory of human motivation and personality. Throughout his career, Kuhl’s work has been characterized by a rigorous search for lawful processes and mechanisms, while maintaining a caring, involved attitude that respects the individuality of the person. This unique profile marks the romantic science of Julius Kuhl.
Full-text available
Article
We propose that the fundamental mechanism underlying resilience is the integration of novel or negative experiences into internal schemata. This process requires a switch from reactive to predictive control modes, from the brain's salience network to the default mode network. Reappraisal, among other mechanisms, is suggested to facilitate this process.
Full-text available
Chapter
Publisher Summary Individuals come to “know” their own attitudes, emotions, and other internal states partially by inferring them from observations of their own overt behavior and/ or the circumstances in which this behavior occurs. Thus, to the extent that internal cues are weak, ambiguous, or uninterpretable, the individual is functionally in the same position as an outside observer, an observer who must necessarily rely upon those same external cues to infer the individual's inner states. This chapter traces the conceptual antecedents and empirical consequences of these propositions, attempts to place the theory in a slightly enlarged frame of reference, and clarifies just what phenomena the theory can and cannot account for in the rapidly growing experimental literature of self-attribution phenomena. Several experiments and paradigms from the cognitive dissonance literature are amenable to self-perception interpretations. But precisely because such experiments are subject to alternative interpretations, they cannot be used as unequivocal evidence for self-perception theory. The reinterpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena and other self-perception phenomena have been discussed. The chapter highlights some differences between self-perception and interpersonal perception and shift of paradigm in social psychology. It discusses some unsolved problems, such as the conceptual status of noncognitive response classes and the strategy of functional analysis.
Full-text available
Article
In this commentary, we build upon the papers featured in this 2-part special issue to advance an integrative perspective on emotion regulation that emphasizes the developmentally specific goal-contexts of emotional phenomena. We highlight the importance of (1) multilevel longitudinal investigations of interactions among biological, affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes with respect to emotion regulation; (2) the integration of emotion-regulation processes with self-regulatory processes across the life course; (3) the dynamic relationship between positive and negative affect and their respective influence on regulatory processes; and (4) greater consideration of the dyadic context of emotion-regulation processes. From this perspective, the optimal developmental outcome with respect to emotion regulation is not affective homeostasis, but rather a dynamic flexibility in emotional experience, the ability to pursue and prioritize different goals, and the capacity to selectively and proactively mobilize emotions and cognitions in the service of context-specific and developmentally specific goals.
Full-text available
Article
In the present paper, we will apply the predictive and reactive control systems (PARCS) theory as a framework that integrates competing theories of neural substrates of awareness by describing the "default mode network" (DMN) and anterior insula (AI) as parts of two different behavioral and homeostatic control systems. The DMN, a network that becomes active at rest when there is no external stimulation or task to perform, has been implicated in self-reflective awareness and prospection. By contrast, the AI is associated with awareness and task-related attention. This has led to competing theories stressing the role of the DMN in self-awareness vs. the role of interoceptive and emotional information integration in the AI in awareness of the emotional moment. In PARCS, the respective functions of the DMN and AI in a specific control system explains their association with different qualities of awareness, and how mental states can shift from one state (e.g., prospective self-reflection) to the other (e.g., awareness of the emotional moment) depending on the relative dominance of control systems. These shifts between reactive and predictive control are part of processes that enable the intake of novel information, integration of this novel information within existing knowledge structures, and the creation of a continuous personal context in which novel information can be integrated and understood. As such, PARCS can explain key characteristics of mental states, such as their temporal and spatial focus (e.g., a focus on the here and now vs. the future; a first person vs. a third person perspective). PARCS further relates mental states to brain states and functions, such as activation of the DMN or hemispheric asymmetry in frontal cortical functions. Together, PARCS deepens the understanding of a broad range of mental states, including mindfulness, mind wandering, rumination, autobiographical memory, imagery, and the experience of self.
Full-text available
Article
Mounting evidence suggest that the right-hemisphere (RH) has a relative advantage, over the left-hemisphere (LH), in mediating social intelligence - identifying social stimuli, understanding the intentions of other people, awareness of the dynamics in social relationships, and successful handling of social interactions. Furthermore, a review and synthesis of the literature suggest that pro-social attitudes and behaviors are associated with physiological activity in the RH, whereas unsocial and anti-social tendencies are mediated primarily by the LH. This hemispheric asymmetry is rooted in several neurobiological and functional differences between the two hemispheres. (I) Positive social interactions often require inhibiting one's immediate desires and considering the perspectives and needs of others. Given that self-control is mediated by the RH, pro-social emotions and behaviors are, therefore, inherently associated with the RH as it subserves the brain's self-restraint mechanisms. (II) The RH mediates experiences of vulnerability. It registers the relative clumsiness and motor weakness of the left limbs, and it is involved, more than the LH, in processing threats and mediating fear. Emotional states of vulnerability trigger the need for affiliation and sociality, therefore the RH has a greater role in mediating pro-social attitudes and behaviors. (III) The RH mediates a holistic mode of representing the world. Holistic perception emphasizes similarities rather than differences, takes a long-term perspective, is associated with divergent thinking and seeing other points-of-view, and it mediates a personal mode of relating to people. All these features of holistic perception facilitate a more empathetic attitude toward others and pro-social behaviors.
Full-text available
Article
Obsessive-compulsive models of workaholism do not allow diagnosing it as an addiction. We introduce an empirical evidence for conceptualization and measurement of work addiction as work craving. The Work Craving Scale (WCS) comprises: (a) obsessive-compulsive desire for work, (b) anticipation of self-worth compensation, (c) anticipation of reduction of negative affect or withdrawal symptoms resulting from working, and (d) neurotic perfectionism. Results (N = 1,459) confirmed the four-factorial structure of the WCS and indicated its good validity and reliability. The conceptualization of work craving significantly contributes to understanding of workaholism as an addiction, and should stimulate future research on work craving.
Full-text available
Article
Objective Both theoretical approaches and empirical evidence suggest that negative affect fosters analytic processing whereas positive affect fosters holistic processing, but these effects are inconsistent. We aim to show that (a) differences in affect-regulation abilities (“action orientation”) and (b) implicit more so than self-reported affect assessment needs to be considered to advance our understanding of these processes.Method Forty participants were asked to verify whether a word was correctly or incorrectly spelled to measure analytic processing, and also to intuitively assess whether sets of three words were coherent or not (remote associates task) to measure holistic processing.ResultsAs expected, implicit but not explicit negative affect interacted with low action orientation (“state orientation”) to predict higher d’ performance in word spelling, whereas implicit but not explicit positive affect interacted with high action orientation to predict higher d’ performance in coherence judgments for word triads. Results are interpreted according to personality systems interactions (PSI) theory.Conclusion These findings suggest that affect and affect changes should be measured explicitly and implicitly to investigate affect-cognition interactions. Moreover, they suggest that good affect regulators benefit from positive affect for holistic processing, whereas bad affect regulators benefit from negative affect for analytical processing.
Full-text available
Article
When well-learned motor skills fail, such as when elderly persons fall or when athletes "choke under pressure," it is assumed that attention is directed toward the execution of the action. Research findings suggest that this controlled execution and subsequent inferior performance depend on a dominant left-hemispheric activation. In a series of 3 experiments, we tested whether increasing right-hemispheric activation by the use of hemisphere-specific priming extenuates motor skill failure. We compared the performances of a sample of experienced athletes in different sports (soccer, tae kwon do, and badminton) in a pressure-free situation with that performed under pressure. As expected, the hemisphere-specific priming extenuated a performance decrease after pressure induction when compared with a control condition. The results suggest that hemisphere-specific priming may prevent motor skill failure. It is argued that this hemispheric priming should be task dependent and can be understood as a functional regulation of the activation in the hemispheres. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Full-text available
Article
Alexithymia is a personality dimension that involves both cognitive deficits, including difficulties in recognizing, describing, and distinguishing feelings from bodily sensations of emotional arousal, and affective deficits, including difficulties in emotionalizing and fantasizing. Alexithymia has been the focus of considerable research. However, researchers have so far taken few steps to translate these insights into treatments and interventions. We call upon researchers to consider more systematically how basic research findings may be translated into tools for improving the fate of alexithymic individuals. To facilitate the translation process, we describe how alexithymia research on emotion, language, oxytocin, and neurofeedback may be converted into clinical interventions. With this outline, we hope to stimulate researchers to invest more in the development of evidence-based treatments for alexithymia, and to evaluate these treatments in terms of their effectiveness.
Full-text available
Article
In light of a growing interest in contemplative practices such as meditation, the emerging field of contemplative science has been challenged to describe and objectively measure how these practices affect health and well-being. While “mindfulness” itself has been proposed as a measurable outcome of contemplative practices, this concept encompasses multiple components, some of which, as we review here, may be better characterized as equanimity. Equanimity can be defined as an even-minded mental state or dispositional tendency toward all experiences or objects, regardless of their origin or their affective valence (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral). In this article we propose that equanimity be used as an outcome measure in contemplative research. We first define and discuss the inter-relationship between mindfulness and equanimity from the perspectives of both classical Buddhism and modern psychology and present existing meditation techniques for cultivating equanimity. We then review psychological, physiological, and neuroimaging methods that have been used to assess equanimity, either directly or indirectly. In conclusion, we propose that equanimity captures potentially the most important psychological element in the improvement of well-being, and therefore should be a focus in future research studies.
Full-text available
Article
The emotion "warmth-liking" (WL) associated with feelings of affection and acceptance is regularly activated in social contexts. WL has been suggested to be more closely related to the consummatory phase of post-goal attainment positive affect than to pre-goal attainment positive affect/approach motivation and to be partly mediated by brain opioids. To validate these assumptions we employed film/imagery to induce either a neutral emotional state or WL in female participants after intake of either placebo or the opioid antagonist naltrexone. Dependent variables were emotion self-report, interpersonal trust (TRUST, i.e., a behavioral indicator of WL), and frontal asymmetry (i.e. an EEG indicator of approach motivation/behavioral activation). We found that participants reported more WL in the placebo/WL group than in the placebo/neutral group and both naltrexone groups. In addition, TRUST increased in the WL group after placebo, but not after naltrexone, and this pattern was reversed in the neutral control groups. Consequently, opioid blockade suppressed or even reversed the effects of the WL induction on the levels of self-report and behavior, respectively. Additionally, we observed reduced relative left-frontal asymmetry in the WL (versus neutral) group, consistent with reduced approach motivation. Overall, these results suggest opioidergic influences on WL and TRUST and reduced approach motivation/behavioral activation for the positive emotion WL.
Full-text available
Chapter
Over the last 10 years or so, the study of implicit self-esteem has developed into a burgeoning area of psychological research. Our goal in the present chapter is to summarize some of the conclusions that have emerged from this work. In the following paragraphs, we begin by outlining the major methods and models that have guided implicit self-esteem research. We then consider recent findings with regard to three important aspects of implicit self-esteem. First, what are the social and developmental origins of implicit self-esteem? Second, what is the relation between implicit and explicit self-esteem? Third, what are the consequences of implicit self-esteem for psychological functioning? After covering these various issues, we summarize the main findings on implicit self-esteem and suggest possible avenues for future implicit self-esteem research.
Full-text available
Chapter
Our aim in this chapter is to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the role of affect regulation in volitional action control. The principles that underlie this framework are based on personality systems interactions (PSI) theory (Kuhl, 2000; Kuhl & Koole, 2004), a new theoretical perspective on human motivation and personality functioning. In the following paragraphs, we begin by considering why affect regulation is needed to support volitional action. Next, we examine some of the cognitive processes that underlie effective affect regulation. Our analysis suggests that volitional action control is particularly served by intuitive affect regulation (Koole & Jostmann, 2004), a form of affect regulation that combines both automatic and controlled processes. We go on to review empirical evidence showing that action orientation is linked to intuitive affect regulation skills. Finally, we review our main conclusions and consider some avenues for future research.
Full-text available
Chapter
In the present chapter, we aim to develop a more scientifically grounded understanding of the psychology approach and avoidance motivation. The plan of this chapter is threefold. First, we discuss a hierarchical model of personality functioning. Second, we give a brief summary of PSI theory. In the third part, we describe in more detail how the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation is integrated by the theory of personality systems interactions across different levels of personality functioning. We devote special attention to self-regulation as the highest level of personality functioning. We conclude that approach and avoidance are not, as they may appear at first glance, confined to simple forms of motivation (e.g., related to fight or flight). As we will show, approach and avoidance systems may regulate even highly complex motivational phenomena such as self-determination and free will.
Full-text available
Chapter
In this chapter, we propose a new theoretical model of alienation that we term the ego fixation hypothesis. Ego fixation refers to the involuntary persistence of self-control. One important consequence of ego fixation is that individuals can no longer access their negative reactions to distasteful stimuli. Although virtually everyone may be somewhat ego-fixated at from time to time, some individuals may be more vulnerable to this condition than others. In particular, individuals who become easily locked into motivational and emotional states, or so-called "state-oriented" individuals, may be especially prone to become ego-fixated. After discussing our ego fixation model, we review several lines of empirical research on state orientation and ego fixation.
Full-text available
Article
Two experiments were designed to test the prediction,derived from the action-based model of cognitive dissonance,that facili - tation of an action-oriented mindset would increase cognitive discrepancy reduction. In Experiment 1,following an easy or difficult decision,a manipulated action-oriented mindset (thinking about implementing the decision) caused persons who made a difficult decision to change their evaluations of the deci- sion alternatives in favor of the decision (spreading of alterna- tives) more than other participants. Experiment 2 conceptually replicated the effects of Experiment 1,even when an action orien- tation was induced by having persons write about implementing a different decision. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings.
Full-text available
Article
Psychological approaches often conceptualize "free will" as self-determined decision-making. However, the functional mechanisms potentially underlying volitional freedom or its limitations have barely been elaborated. Starting from a functional definition of volition, we illustrate how personality systems interactions (PSI) theory may contribute to explaining underlying mechanisms of volitional freedom. Specifically, based on neurobiological evidence, this theory postulates that degrees of volitional freedom increase with an increasing involvement of more complex levels of psychological functioning (e.g., from habits and affective impulses toward motives, specific goals, intentions, and more global, personal goals). We will demonstrate how, at a psychological level, demand-related stress limits the pursuit of specific goals, whereas threat-related stress limits self-congruent choice of specific goals. Empirical evidence will be reported that relate to these two possible ways of losing volitional ("top-down") control. In addition, we report on neurobiological findings supporting the present view of volitional freedom and its limitations.
Full-text available
Conference Paper
Implicit measures of self-access are investigated. Whereas "associative" measures involve activation of associative links between the self and already established attitudes, "integrative" measures involve a thorough evaluation process in which new contradictory experiences are checked out for integration into the self system. An example of an associative measure is the implicit association test (IAT), in which high self-esteem is indexed by shorter latencies to keys associated to I-and-pleasant compared to latencies to keys associated to I-and-unpleasant item pairs (Greenwald & Farnham, 2000). An integrative measure is illustrated with a situation in which one first has to make self-incompatible decisions (selecting unattractive and rejecting attractive items) and then correctly responds against his/her own preferences ("I selected" unattractive and "I did not select" attractive items). Individuals with good self-access (action oriented) produce longer latencies in this task, indicating that they engage in a thorough process of self-compatibility checking (Kazén, Baumann, & Kuhl, 2003). Results of a first validation study are reported. Whereas the associative measure tends to correlate with "self-complexity" (H; Linville, 1985), the integrative measure correlates negatively with "self- concept compartmentalization" (Phi; Showers & Kling, 1996), neuroticism, and subjective level of stress. None of the implicit measures correlates significantly with Rosenberg's self-esteem scale. Implication of the above results for the measurement of the implicit Self are discussed.
Article
Unilateral hand contraction typically activates the contralateral hemisphere and has led to changes in psychological states and performances in previous research. Based on a right hemisphere model of the implicit self, we hypothesized and found that left hand contraction increases momentary levels of implicit self-esteem (Studies 1 and 2) and implicit positive affect (Study 3). The findings are discussed with respect to potential differences between the hemispheres in implicit and explicit affective processing and how they can be integrated in the existing literature on hemisphere asymmetries.
Book
Der amerikanische Psychotherapeut Eugene T. Gendlin stellte in Untersuchungen fest, dass Menschen, die gut mit Krisen und Problemen umgehen können, offenbar über eine andere Art der Selbstwahrnehmung verfügen: Sie beziehen körperliche Empfindungen ein und äußern sich nicht nur theoretisch oder abstrakt über ihre Lage. Von dieser Beobachtung ausgehend, entwickelt Gendlin eine Methode, solche Art der Selbstwahrnehmung zu lehren: Focusing. In seinem Buch stellt er die Technik des Focusing vor und erläutert zugleich, wei diese zur Selbsthilfe bei der Lösung persönlicher Probleme eingesetzt werden kann.
Article
Within any culture of the world people differ in the preferred degree of closeness and relatedness to others. Emotion is perhaps the most striking feature in which the constructs of independence and interdependence differ. This chapter improves our understanding of the role of emotion across cultures by taking a closer look at the cognitive, emotional, and developmental differences observed in cross-cultural research on independent and interdependent orientations; providing a theoretical explanation for the observed pattern of cognitive, emotional, and developmental differences between cultures that lean more toward individualistic or interrelated orientations. From a developmental point of view, the two cultural concepts of independence and interdependence are conceived of as idealized developmental pathways toward desirable endpoints in specific cultural environments. The theory of personality systems interactions (PSI) provides an understanding of patterns of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral characteristics that can be observed among people with or without a shared cultural environment. The new distinctions proposed are subtle but revealing, especially with regard to the distinction between integrative and orientations. The chapter also elaborates the role affect regulation plays in modulating the interaction between diverging cognitive processing styles and derives an elaborated model extending the framework of independence and interdependence to overcome some conceptual difficulties involved in this contrast.
Article
This chapter presents the evolution of motivation and cognition across cultures through different time periods. In the 1970s, a major shift in emphasis began occurring in social psychology; cognition emerged as the dominant force, and motivation declined to a secondary element. The notion of motivational influences on perception and cognition was highly discussed, though always controversial in perception. In the early 1980s, people came to realize that motivation and cognition were important to the study of cross-cultural research in the context of both differences and similarities.
Article
Scientific research shows how experience shapes the organization of the human brain through mechanisms of neural plasticity, which capture the information of the world within the connections among neurons. To understand this plasticity, it is important to look to the developmental mechanisms through which the brain grows from a single cell in embryogenesis to achieve the complex architecture of the human brain. The process of neural morphogenesis involves exuberant formation of neuronal connections, and then subtractive elimination of unused connections. This process is continued after birth, providing the neural plasticity of learning that allows cognitive development in infancy and childhood. Recognizing this continuity suggests an interesting insight-cognition is a reflection of neural development throughout the life span. This book examines the embryonic development of the brain to appreciate the dimensions of developmental momentum that shape the neural and psychological development of our lives. Human brain embryogenesis involves gradients of trophic factors that guide the migration of neurons from ventricular proliferative zones to organize the architecture of the cerebral hemispheres. The architecture of human cognition involves a functional differentiation of dorsal (pyramidal) and ventral (granular) corticolimbic divisions. This differentiation is a defining feature of not just human but mammalian neuroanatomy. The separation of pyramidal and granular cortical architectures appeared with the evolution of the six-layered mammalian neocortex from the three-layered primitive general cortex of reptiles and amphibians. The functional differentiation of the dorsal and ventral divisions of the cerebral hemispheres has been shown to be integral to multiple levels of psychological function, from elementary motivation to the most complex forms of executive self-regulation.
Article
Human beings are unique in their ability to think consciously about themselves. Because they have a capacity for self-awareness not shared by other animals, people can imagine themselves in the future, anticipate consequences, plan ahead, improve themselves, and perform many other behaviors that are uniquely characteristic of human beings. Yet, despite the obvious advantages of self-reflection, the capacity for self-thought comes at a high price as people's lives are adversely affected and their inner chatter interferes with their success, pollutes their relationships, and undermines their happiness. Indeed, self-relevant thought is responsible for most of the personal and social difficulties that human beings face as individuals and as a species. Among other things, the capacity for self-reflection distorts people's perceptions, leading them to make bad decisions based on faulty information. The self conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, envy, and other negative emotions by allowing people to ruminate about the past or imagine the future. Egocentrism and egotism blind people to their own shortcomings, promote self-serving biases, and undermine their relationships with others. The ability to self-reflect also underlies social conflict by leading people to separate themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Ironically, many sources of personal unhappiness - such as addictions, overeating, unsafe sex, infidelity, and domestic violence - are due to people's inability to exert self-control. For those inclined toward religion and spirituality, visionaries throughout history have proclaimed that the egoic self stymies the quest for spiritual fulfillment and leads to immoral behavior.
Article
This article describes the concept of posttraumatic growth, its conceptual foundations, and supporting empirical evidence. Posttraumatic growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises. It is manifested in a variety of ways, including an increased appreciation for life in general, more meaningful interpersonal relationships, an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual life. Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient. We propose a model for understanding the process of posttraumatic growth in which individual characteristics, support and disclosure, and more centrally, significant cognitive processing involving cognitive structures threatened or nullified by the traumatic events, play an important role. It is also suggested that posttraumatic growth mutually interacts with life wisdom and the development of the life narrative, and that it is an on-going process, not a static outcome.
Article
Experiment 1 used the Implicit Association Test (IAT; A. G. Greenwald, D. E. McGhee, Be J. L. K. Schwartz, 1998) to measure self-esteem by assessing automatic associations of self with positive or negative valence. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that two IAT measures defined a factor that was distinct from, but weakly correlated with, a factor defined by standard explicit (self-report) measures of self-esteem. Experiment 2 tested known-groups validity of two IAT gender self-concept measures. Compared with well-established explicit measures, the IAT measures revealed triple the difference in measured masculinity-femininity between men and women. Again, CFA revealed construct divergence between implicit and explicit measures. Experiment 3 assessed the self-esteem IAT's validity in predicting cognitive reactions to success and failure. High implicit self-esteem was associated in the predicted fashion with buffering against adverse effects of failure on two of four measures.
Article
Pursuing personal goals is an important way that people organize their behavior and mature as individuals. However, because people are typically unaware of their own implicit motivations and potentials, they may pick goals that do not serve them well. This article suggests that "self-concordant" goal selection is a difficult self-perceptual skill, with important ramifications for thriving. Various means of conceptualizing and measuring goal self-concordance are considered. Then, relevant literature is reviewed to show that goal self-concordance, as assessed by a self-determination theory methodology, is predicted by goal/motive fit; that goal self-concordance in turn predicts more persistent goal effort and, thus, better goal attainment over time; and that self-concordant goal selection is enhanced by personality variables and interpersonal contexts that promote accurate self-insight and personal autonomy. Implications for the nature of the self, the causes of personality thriving and growth, and the free will question are considered.
Article
Since the classical Babinski’s (1914) observation of lack of awareness (“anosognosia”) for a left-sided hemiplegia, the problem of the mechanisms underlying this surprising phenomenon has been raised. Most authors have stressed the links between right hemisphere and emotional processes, considering anosognosia as an abnormal emotional reaction, caused by disruption of the side of the brain crucially involved in emotional behavior. Theoretically motivated models of hemispheric asymmetries in emotional processing have proposed either a right-hemisphere dominance for specific components of emotions, or a different involvement of the right and left hemispheres in different levels of emotional processing. Following the last line of thought, we have proposed that the right hemisphere may subserve the lower “schematic” level (where emotions are automatically generated and experienced as “true emotions) and the left hemisphere the higher “conceptual” level (where emotions are consciously analyzed and submitted to an intentional control). In agreement with this model, recent empirical data strongly suggest that the right hemisphere might play a major role in the automatic, unconscious generation of emotions, whereas the left hemisphere could be mainly involved in the conscious analysis and control of emotional processes.
Article
Mechanistic understandings of forms of incidental emotion regulation have implications for basic and translational research in the affective sciences. In this study we applied Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) for fMRI to a common paradigm of labeling facial affect to elucidate prefrontal to subcortical influences. Four brain regions were used to model affect labeling, including right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC), amygdala and Broca's area. 64 models were compared, for each of 45 healthy subjects. Family level inference split the model space to a likely driving input and Bayesian Model Selection within the winning family of 32 models revealed a strong pattern of endogenous network connectivity. Modulatory effects of labeling were most prominently observed following Bayesian Model Averaging, with the dampening influence on amygdala originating from Broca's area but much more strongly from right vlPFC. These results solidify and extend previous correlation and regression-based estimations of negative corticolimbic coupling.
Article
Over the last ten years the basic knowledge of brain structure and function has vastly ex- panded, and its incorporation into the developmental sciences is now allowing for more complex and heuristic models of human infancy. In a continuation of this effort, in this two-part work I integrate current interdisciplinary data from attachment studies on dyadic affective communications, neuroscience on the early developing right brain, psychophysiology on stress systems, and psychiatry on psychopath- ogenesis to provide a deeper understanding of the psychoneurobiological mechanisms that underlie infant mental health. In this article I detail the neurobiology of a secure attachment, an exemplar of adaptive infant mental health, and focus upon the primary caregiver's psychobiological regulation of the infant's maturing limbic system, the brain areas specialized for adapting to a rapidly changing environment. The infant's early developing right hemisphere has deep connections into the limbic and autonomic nervous systems and is dominant for the human stress response, and in this manner the attachment relationship facilitates the expansion of the child's coping capcities. This model suggests that adaptive infant mental health can be fundamentally defined as the earliest expression of flexible strategies for coping with the novelty and stress that is inherent in human interactions. This efficient right brain function is a resilience factor for optimal development over the later stages of the life cycle.
Article
We propose a model linking the early parent-child mutually responsive orientation (MRO), children's temperament trait of effortful control, and their internalization of conduct rules. In a developmental chain, effortful control was posited as a mediator of the links between MRO and children's internalization. MRO was further posited as a moderator of the links between effortful control and internalization (i.e., moderated mediation): Variations in effortful control were expected to be more consequential for internalization in suboptimal relationships, with low MRO, than in optimal ones, with high MRO. The model was tested in 2 studies that employed comparable observational measures. In Family Study (N = 102 community mothers, fathers, and children), MRO was assessed at 25 months, effortful control at 38 months, and children's internalization at 67 months. In Play Study (N = 186 low-income, diverse mothers and children), MRO was assessed at 30 months, effortful control at 33 months, and children's internalization at 40 months. MRO was observed in lengthy naturalistic interactions, effortful control in standardized tasks, and internalized, rule-compatible conduct in parent-child interactions and in standardized paradigms without surveillance. Structural equation modeling analyses, with internalized, rule-compatible conduct modeled as a latent variable, supported moderated mediation across mother- and father-child relationships and both studies. In optimal, mutually responsive relationships, multiple mechanisms other than capacity for effortful control may also operate effectively to promote internalization, thus reducing the relative importance of variations in child temperament. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The difference between left and right hemisphere activity is proposed as defining two opposite modes for the organization of contextual connections between elements of information. According to the results of psychophysiological investigations, it is suggested that the “freedom” displayed by the isolated left hemisphere in manipulating information is due to the loss of multidimensional connections between objects. The ability to grasp such connections by the right hemisphere determines the richness of its mental activity and permits creativity. The peculiarity of the creative activity of schizophrenics is discussed and is considered to be a consequence of functional insufficiency of right hemisphere activity.