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The Agile Mind$
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Wilma Koutstaal

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367188.001.0001

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Action and Motivation

Action and Motivation

The Impetus for, and Enactment of, Agile Thinking

(p.179) 5 Action and Motivation
The Agile Mind

Wilma Koutstaal

Oxford University Press

This chapter further broadens the scope of our window into agile thinking beyond that of the representational world of memory, categorization, and concepts (the focus of Chapters 2 and 3), and beyond that of sensory-perceptual and motor inputs and guides to representations and thinking (the topic of Chapter 4), to encompass action and motivation, or the impetus for, and enactment of, agile thinking. This chapter consists of four main sections, each of which, in turn, is comprised of several subsections. The four sections focus on four main areas. Firstly, hierarchical models of action control and motivation are considered, particularly in relation to higher level versus lower level construals of our actions, and the interactions between controlled and automatic processing in forming and implementing intentions are examined. Secondly, the next section looks at the need for moderate and changing levels of control, emphasizing the correlation of moderate levels of control with increased resiliency and the growing evidence that executive control or self-regulatory processes may, under some conditions, become depleted if the need for high levels of self-regulatory control is sustained for prolonged periods. The following section analyzes forms of motivation and incentives, especially evidence that contests the often proposed conflict between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and that underscores the important synergistic effects that may be obtained by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientation. Finally, the last section examines the potential powerful role of reinforcement in encouraging organisms not only to repeat but also to vary, including in innovatively creative ways. Thus, further developing the integrated Controlled-Automatic, Specific-Abstract (iCASA) framework, the chapter focuses on alterations in our level of representational specificity, and our level of control, with regard to actions and our motivation for action, in enabling mental agility.

Keywords:   action control, motivation, construals, intentions, self-regulatory processes, incentives, reinforcement, integrated Controlled-Automatic, Specific-Abstract framework, iCASA

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