Volition (psychology)


Volition (psychology)

Volition or will is the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action. It is defined as purposive striving, and is one of the primary human psychological functions (the others being affection [affect or feeling] , motivation [goals and expectations] and cognition [thinking] ). Volitional processes can be applied consciously, and they can be automatized as habits over time. Most modern conceptions of volition address it as a process of action control that becomes automatized (see e.g., Heckhausen and Kuhl; Gollwitzer; Corno and Kanfer).

Willpower is the colloquial, and volition the scientific, term for the same state of the will; viz., an "elective preference". When we have "made up our minds" (as we say) to a thing, i. e., have a settled state of choice respecting it, that state is called an immanent volition; when we put forth any particular act of choice, that act is called an emanant, or executive, or imperative, volition. When an immanent, or settled state of, choice, is one which controls or governs a series of actions, we call that state a predominant volition; while we give the name of subordinate volitions to those particular acts of choice which carry into effect the object sought for by the governing or "predominant volition".

Within Gary Kielhofner's "Model of Human Occupation" volition is one of the three sub-systems that act on human behavior. Within this model volition considers a person's values, interests and beliefs about self-effiacy and personal capacity.

The book "A Bias for Action" by Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal discusses the difference between willpower and motivation. In doing so, the authors use the term volition as a synonym to willpower and describe briefly the theories of Narziss Ach and Kurt Lewin. While Lewin argues that motivation and volition are one and the same, the authors claim that Ach argues differently.

According to the authors, Ach claims that there is a certain threshold - when desire lies below this threshold, it is just motivation, whereas when desire crosses this threshold, it becomes volition. With this example, the authors point out the difference in commitment levels of individuals to tasks, by measuring it on the scale of intent - from motivation to volition. Modern writing on the role of volition in impulse control (e.g., Kuhl and Heckhausen) and in education (e.g., Corno) also makes this distinction. Corno's model ties volition to the processes of self-regulated learning.

Willpower is a concept that mistakenly assumes we are under rational control, and the reduction of the same results in a lack of willpower. The fact is that we turn our rationality to serve our impulses or wishes, and sometimes have great willpower in pursuing them. Thus an alcoholic can be very cunning in achieving his determination to drink, and may display great willpower in achieving this goal.

At other moments, he may rationally know that this behavior destroys his life, and costs him all that is dear to him, and may resolve for the moment to forgo it. That is when the observer deduces that willpower is a key to success, and with suffient will he would remain with that promise. However, at another moment another urge may become important, and he devotes his will and his rationality to satisfying that urge.

The observer's error is to assume that the human is a rational creature, and that will should serve that rationality. In fact, we are only partly rational, and often our rationality and determination serve various motivations that occur for causes other than reason.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Volition — can mean:*Volition (psychology) *Volition (linguistics) *Volition, Inc. is also a computer game developer, currently owned by THQ. *Volition Records, a record label …   Wikipedia

  • Volition (Psychologie) — Volition bezeichnet in der Psychologie den Prozess der Bildung, Aufrechterhaltung und Realisierung von Absichten. Dabei steht die Frage im Vordergrund, wie die Umsetzung von Zielen oder Motiven (durch Handlungen) in Resultate erfolgt. Es geht… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Psychology — • The science which treats of the soul and its operations Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Psychology     Psychology     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Volition (Management) — Der Begriff Volition bezeichnet in der Managementwissenschaft in Bezug auf Unternehmen (sich selbst steuernde Systeme) den Prozess der Willensbildung (Zielsetzung, Planung) und Willensdurchsetzung (Organisation, Kontrolle);[1] in Bezug auf die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Psychology (The separation of) from philosophy — The separation of psychology from philosophy Studies in the sciences of mind 1815–1879 Edward S.Reed THE IMPOSSIBLE SCIENCE Traditional metaphysics The consensus of European opinion during and immediately after the Napoleonic era was that… …   History of philosophy

  • Educational psychology — Psychology …   Wikipedia

  • List of psychology topics — This page aims to list all topics related to psychology. This is so that those interested in the subject can monitor changes to the pages by clicking on Related changes in the sidebar. It is also to see the gaps in Wikipedia s coverage of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Moral psychology — is a field of study in both philosophy and psychology. Some use the term moral psychology relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development.[1] However, others tend to use the term more broadly to include any topics at the… …   Wikipedia

  • Bicameralism (psychology) — Bicameralism (the philosophy of two chamberedness ) is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human brain once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be speaking , and a… …   Wikipedia

  • воля — свойство человеческой психики, проявляющееся в активной самодетерминации и саморегуляции им своей деятельности и поведения вопреки внешним и внутренним препятствиям, влияниям и воздействиям. Понятие В. было введено в античный период для… …   Большая психологическая энциклопедия


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.