Much research has been conducted on the four major psychological processes through which self-efficacy affects human functioning and hence can be increased:
1. Cognitive Processes: Much human behaviour is intentional and regulated by forethought and valued goals. The stronger the perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goal challenges people set for themselves and the firmer is the commitment to them. Self-efficacy beliefs also shape the anticipation of scenarios that will be constructed and rehearsed in the mind. Persons with high self-efficacy visualize success scenarios. Those who doubt their efficacy visualize failure and dwell on what can go wrong.
2. Motivational Processes: People motivate themselves and guide their actions by expectations of what they can do and the likely outcomes. This impacts the goals that are set and the planning of activities.
There are three different forms of cognitive motivators:
I. causal attributions: Persons with high self-efficacy attribute their failures to insufficient effort and those with low self-efficacy attribute their failures to low ability.
II. outcome expectancies: motivation is impacted by the expectation that a given behavior, what they can do, will produce certain outcomes and beliefs about the likely outcomes of performance.
III. cognized goals, the capacity to exercise influence over oneself through challenging goals and type of evaluative reaction to one’s own attainments.
Explicit and challenging goals:
– enhance and sustain motivation largely through self-influence processes rather than regulate motivation and action directly and involves a cognitive comparison process
– make self-satisfaction conditional on set goals
– give direction to behavior
– create incentives to persist in efforts until the goals are reached
– prompt oneself to intensify efforts due to discontent with substandard performances
More about the importance of goals and the evaluative reaction next week.
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