Attaining self-regulation: A soci...
2 A T T A I N I N G S E L F - R E G U L A T I O N A S O C I A L C O G N I T I V E P E R S P E C T I V E BARRYJ. ZIMMERMAN Oty University of New York, New York, New York. I. I N T R O D U C T I O N Perhaps our most important quality as humans is our capability to self-regulate. It has provided us with an adaptive edge that enabled our ancestors to survive and even flourish when changing conditions led other species to extinction. Our regulatory skill or lack thereof is the source of our perception of personal agency that lies at the core of our sense of self. Understanding how this capability develops, its various subcomponents, and its functions has been a major thrust of social cognitive theory and research. Of equal importance is the explanation for common dysfunctions in self-regulatory functioning, such as biased self-monitoring, self-blaming judgments, and defensive self-reactions. This chapter will define self-regu- lation and will discuss the structure of self-regulatory systems, social and physical environmental context influences on self-regulation, dysfunctions in self-regulation, and self-regulatory development. A. A TRIADIC DEFINITION OF SELF.REGULATION A social cognitive perspective is distinctive in viewing self-regulation as an interaction of personal, behavioral, and enoironmental triadic processes (Bandura, 1986). More specifically, it entails not only behavioral skill in Handbook of Self-Regulation | 3 Copyright 2000 by Academic Press. AI! rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
| 4 PART |. G E N E R A L T H E O R I E S AND M O D E L S OF S E L F - R E G U L A T I O N self-managing environmental contingencies, but also the knowledge and the sense of personal agency to enact this skill in relevant contexts. Self-regulation refers to self-generated thoughts, feelings, and actions that are planned and cyclically adapted to the attainment of personal goals. This definition, in terms of actions and covert processes whose presence and quality depends on one's beliefs and motives, differs from definitions emphasizing a singular trait, ability, or stage of competence. A process definition can explain why a person may self-regulate one type of perfor- mance but not another. This personal agency formulation also differs from metacognitive views of self-regulation that emphasize only knowledge states and deductive reasoning when, for example, choosing cognitive strategies. Although metacognition plays an important role, self-regulation also depends on self-beliefs and affective reactions, such as doubts and fears, about specific performance contexts (Zimmerman, 1995b). Aspiring chess players may try to emulate a well known defense strategy but often abandon it when their confidence falters during a competitive match. Contextually related self-processes, such as perceived efficacy, have been shown to be well suited to explaining variations in personal motivation to self-regulate one's performance (Bandura, 1997 Pajares & Miller, 1994 Zimmerman, 1995a). Self-efficacy refers to beliefs about one's capabilities to organize and implement actions necessary to attain designated perfor- mance of skill for specific tasks. Self-regulation is described as cyclical because the feedback from prior performance is used to make adjustments during current efforts. Such adjustments are necessary because personal, behavioral, and environmen- tal factors are constantly changing during the course of learning and performance, and must be observed or monitored using three self-oriented feedback loops (see Figure 1). Behavioral self-regulation involves self- observing and strategically adjusting performance processes, such as one's method of learning, whereas environmental self-regulation refers to observ- ing and adjusting environmental conditions or outcomes. Covert self- regulation involves monitoring and adjusting cognitive and affective states, such as imagery for remembering or relaxing. The accuracy and constancy of learners' self-monitoring of these triadic sources of self-control directly influence the effectiveness of their strategic adjustments and the nature of their self-beliefs. These triadic feedback loops are assumed to be open. Unlike closed-loop views, which limit self-regulation to reducing perfor- mance discrepancies reactively against an unchanging standard (Locke, 1991), open-loop perspectives include proactively increasing performance discrepancies by raising goals and seeking more challenging tasks. For example, when chess players decide to move up to a new level of competi- tion, they make success more difficult to achieve but use the outcome discrepancies as a way to motivate themselves to attain higher levels of
2. ATTAINING SELF-REGULATION 1 5 F I G U R E I Triadic forms of self-regulation. Note. From "A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning," by B. J. Zimmerman, 1989, Journal of Educational Psychol- ogy, 81, p. 330. Copyright 1989 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission. skill. Thus, self-regulation involves triadic processes that are proactively as well as reactively adapted for the attainment of personal goals. !!. T H E S T R U C T U R E O F S E L F - R E G U L A T O R Y S Y S T E M S It has been argued that every person attempts to self-regulate his or her functioning in some way to gain goals in life and that it is in/accurate to speak about un-self-regulated persons or even the absence of self-regu- lation (Winne, 1997). From this perspective, what distinguishes effective from ineffective forms self-regulation is instead the quality and quantity of one's self-regulatory processes. The most effective processes have been identified through a variety of empirical sources, including interviews with experts who are known for their self-discipline and success (e.g., Ericsson & Lehman, 1996 Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986, 1988), clinical studies of individuals experiencing self-regulatory dysfunctions (Watson & Tharp, 1993), and experimental research on personal methods of control during demanding performance tasks (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989 Kuhl, 1985). An important issue is to understand how these processes are structurally interrelated and cyclically sustained.
I 6 .... P A R T I. G E N E R A L T H E O i ~ i E S A N D M O D E L S O F S E L F - R E G U L A T I O N Forethought ~Performance or x ~ ~V~176 C ~ _ _ ~ Self-Reflection FIGURE 2 Cyclical phases of self-regulation. Note. From Self-Regulated Learning: From Teaching to Self-Reflective Practice. (p. 3), by D. H. Schunk and B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), 1998, New York: Guilford. Copyright 1998 by Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission. From a social cognitive perspective, self-regulatory processes and ac- companying beliefs fall into three cyclical phases: forethought, perfor- mance or volitional control, and self-reflection processes (see Figure 2). Forethought refers to influential processes that precede efforts to act and set the stage for it. Performance or volitional control involves processes that occur during motoric efforts and affect attention and action. Self- reflection involves processes that occur after performance efforts and influence a person's response to that experience. These self-reflections, in turn, influence forethought regarding subsequent motoric efforts~thus completing a self-regulatory cycle. A. FORETHOUGHT PHASE There are two distinctive but closely linked categories of forethought: (1) task analysis and (2) self-motivational beliefs (see Table 1). A key form of task analysis involves the setting of goals. Goal setting refers to deciding TABLE I Phase Structure and Subprocesses of Self-Regulation .... - - , _ ,, , , , , ,,l , - Cyclical self-regulatory phases Forethought Performance/volitional control Self-reflection Task analysis Goal setting Strategic planning Self.motivation beliefs Self-efficacy Outcome expectations Intrinsic interest/value Goal orientation Self-control Self-instruction Imagery Attention focusing Task strategies Self-observation Self-recording Self-experimentation Self-judgment Self-evaluation Causal attribution Self-reaction Self-satisfaction/affect Adaptive-defensive
2. ATTAINING SELF-REGULATION 1 7 upon specific outcomes of learning or performance, such as solving a group of division problems in mathematics during a study session (Locke & Latham, 1990). The goal systems of highly self-regulated individuals are organized hierarchically, such that process goals operate as proximal regulators of more distal outcome goals. These process subgoals are not merely mechanical check points on the path to attaining highly valued outcomes instead they become invested with personal meaning because they convey evidence of progress. For example, a pupil learning a tennis serve will feel an increasing sense of efficacy about mastering this stroke as components of it are acquired, such as the take back of the racket, the ball toss, and the follow-through. Bandura and Schunk (1981) reported evi- dence that as students pursued and attained proximal goals in mathemat- ics, they developed greater self-efficacy and intrinsic interest in this topic. A second form of task analysis is strategic planning (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986). For a skill to be mastered or performed optimally, learners need methods that are appropriate for the task and the setting. Self-regulative strategies are purposive personal processes and actions directed at acquir- ing or displaying skill (Zimmerman, 1989). Appropriately selected strate- gies enhance performance by aiding cognition, controlling affect, and directing motoric execution (Pressley & Wolloshyn, 1995). For example, key word or integrative image strategies are known to enhance the recall and use of information during motoric performance (Schneider & Pressley, 1997). The planning and selection of strategies requires cyclical adjust- ments because of fluctuations in covert personal, behavioral, and environ- mental components. No self-regulatory strategy will work equally well for all persons, and few, if any, strategies will work optimally for a person on all tasks or occasions. As a skill develops, the effectiveness of an initial acquisition strategy often declines to the point where another strategy becomes necessary, such as when a novice golfer shifts from a swing execution strategy to a ball flight aiming strategy. Thus, as a result of diverse and changing intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual condi- tions, self-regulated individuals must continuously adjust their goals and choice of strategies. Self-regulatory skills are of little value if a person cannot motivate themselves to use them. Underlying forethought processes of goal setting and strategic planning are a number of key self-motivational beliefs: self-efficacy, outcome expectations, intrinsic interest or valuing, and goal orientation. As was noted earlier, self-efficacy refers to personal beliefs about having the means to learn or perform effectively, whereas outcome expectations refer to beliefs about the ultimate ends of performance (Bandura, 1997). For example, self-efficacy refers to the belief that one can attain a course grade of A, and outcomes refer to expectations about the consequences this grade will produce after graduation, such as a desirable job. A person's willingness to engage and sustain their self-regulatory