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The Dynamics of Goal Revision: A Cybernetic Multiperiod Test-Operate-Test-Adjust-Loop (TOTAL) Model of Self-Regulation


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  • Chen Wang
  • Anirban Mukhopadhyay
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    This research presents a comprehensive conceptual model of the dynamics of goal revision over multiple periods. First, based on an integrative literature review, we derive four principles that govern how individuals update their goals over time (monotonicity, diminishing sensitivity, aspiration maximization, and performance satisficing). We then integrate these principles logically as well as mathematically into a goal-discrepancy response function. Next, we advance existing cybernetic models of self-regulation by synthesizing the four principles and the response function into a Test-Operate-Test-Adjust-Loop (TOTAL) model, which captures the dynamics of goal revision in self-regulation. We report four laboratory experiments that demonstrate initial support for the postulates of our model and conclude with a discussion of limitations and future directions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 815 - 832

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660853

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