Category Archives: UNL / Motivation

Self Efficacy, and the way forward

While I’ll always be a fan of the OODA loop, a great conceptual model of human cognition, it does not help me in predicting outcomes. That’s why I generalized Horn et al to create a domain-knowledge/general-ability/motivation/behavior model of performance. Writing about this will be its own challenge, however.

This comes at about the same time I have discovered self-efficacy, an incredibly powerful tool first developed by Albert Bandura. Self-efficacy blows away concepts such as self-esteem, self-concept, self-definition, identity, and so on, and also better explains findings described by Expectancy-Value Theory, Goal Theory, and so on.

Self-efficacy boils down to a set of simple questions, all of which have this form: How confident are you that you can perform a specific action in order to achieve a goal, as of now. Self-efficacy is obviously beyond behavioralism, because such self-reports were frowned on by the behavioralists that Skinner. However, it is much more action-centered than other ‘cognitive’ or ‘constructive’ theories. What you feel, how proud you are, what you really want, so on, and burned away. How confident are you, right now, that you can do A to get B?

For instance, from this online resource on self-efficacy, comes a standard practice question, drived from Bandura’s famous “Guide to Creating Self-Efficacy Scales” (PDF).

If you were asked to lift a 10 pound object right now, how certain are you that you can lift it?

Respondants are given 11 choices, from 0 to 100, with 0 meaning cannot lift at all, and 100 meaning can lift without any problem.

When I first encountered self-efficacy I thought it was just a proxy of domain knowledge or long-term memory, but many, many studies show it is a seperate construct that explains variation on its own. A popularization of the concept is available from the Wall Street Jounal.

So now, I am planning to use self-efficacy, along with the rest of my model, to look at creativity in blogging. This is a large task and I need an organizational structure. Fortunately, Siwatu (2005) provides an excellent model. While Siwatu examined a different concept, we share a methodological outlook as well as a focus on self-efficacy.

So, using Siwatu as a model, how I plan to attack the problem. Italicized headings are areas where I replaced Siwatu’s topics with analogous ones in my own research.

Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Purpose of the Study 4
Research Questions 7
Definition of Terms 7
Blogging 7
Blogging Self-Efficacy 8
Blogging Creativity 8

Chapter II Review of the Literature 9
Creativity
Creation 11
The Novel 12
The Useful 14
The Field 16
The Domain 17
The Value of Creativity 17

Self-Efficacy
What are self-efficacy beliefs? 19
Source of Information 20
Mastery Experience 20
Vicarious Experience 20
Verbal Persuasion 21
Physiological and emotional states 21
Assessment of Self-Efficacy 22
The development of the CES Scale 25
Concerns regarding CES 29
What are Job and Creativity Self Efficacy? 33
Cognitive, Motivational, and Strategies Variables 35

General Ability 35
Domain Knowledge 37
Motivation 38
Strategies 41

Summary and Predictions 42
Chapter 3 Methods 46
Introduction 36
Quantitative Phase 36
Population and Sample 47
Measures 47
Creative Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 47
Job Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 48
Blogging Domain Knowledge Scale 49
Attitude Scale 50
General Ability Scale 51

Data Analysis 52

This model is missing a replacement for Siwatu’s qualitative section. I imagine that will come from creating and revising the scales I need in this research.

A Simple Model of Performance

Over the past year I have worked on grounding John Boyd’s OODA loop in modern psychology. Both here, and more often in academic drafts, I have described Orientation as System 1 or intuitive cognition, Decision as System 2 or deliberate cognition, Observation as perception and Action as behavior. I still think that the OODA model, or something very much like it, is probably the best high-level conceptual model of the human mind that we have available.

However, it does not help us understand what causes variance in the population, in most tasks. The reason for this is that it does not directly address the issue of Motivation. To use a computer metaphor if Orientation or System 1 is the hard drive, controller cards, and BIOS, while System 2 is RAM, then Motivation is the hypervisor, or that thing that controls the ability of everything else to engage in behaviors to achieve a goal. Motivation, or the hypervisor, is useful because it regulates System 1/Orientation/Long-Term Memory’s and System 2/Decision/Working Memory’s control of behavior, which in turn affects performance. A model of cognition that does not include performance misses both motivation’s regulation of behavior, and motivation’s direct impact on performance. A model derived from Horn et al. (1993) may give us a way forward:

The cognitive components of this model can each be broken down into sub-components. Long-term memory includes both procedural knowledge (how to ride a bike, how to tie your shoes) and declarative knowledge (how you would answer questions: what is a bike? what are shoes?). Many tasks require procedural and decalarative knowledge to operate together. Working-memory includes visual working memory, which is in tasks such as imagining the rotation of objects in three-dimensional space, and verbal working memory, which is used to remember lists, numbers or names. As far as I can tell, motivation loads from both self-efficacy, the believe that as of now you can perform specific tasks to reach a goal, and attitudes, especially the enjoyment of a thing (as it relates to consumption) and desire to block out the world (as it relates to production).

This leaves the question of where the Central Executive is. John Sweller has argueed that it exists in Long-Term Memory, and indeed that no central executive is conceivable other than one that operates through a darwinistic random process within System 1 / Orientation. Alan Baddeley asserts it is a third component of working memory, alongside visual and verbal working memory, because central executive functions appear to tax working memory capacity. Albert Bandura asserts that humans are “agents,” and their Central Executive agency must rely within their Motivation. I don’t know.

The harmonization of John Boyd’s OODA loop with this model of what actually predicts performance is an important task for the field of psychology, especially if it can account for creativity. I hope somebody does it.

Notes on Motivation

I just finished reading Motivation in Education: Theory, Research, and Applications (3rd edition) by Dale Schunk, Paul Pintrich, and Judith Meece. I read it for the summer session I am taking on motivation. That seminar is my second-to-last substantive class in my Doctoral Program of Studies, and hopefully useful for my research into blogging, creativity, and the OODA Loop.

Notes are below the fold. The most interesting graphic in this book was this description of a social-cognitive theory of motivation, which appears to be Orientation-Decision-Orientation-Action in the terms of OODA loop, on page 51

Excerpts from the book

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