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Control Theory

 

Explanations > Theories > Control Theory

Description | Research | Example | So what? | See also | References 

 

Description

We have a deep need for control that itself, paradoxically, controls much of our lives. The endless effort to control can lead us to be miserable as we fail in this impossible task of trying to control everything and everyone around us.

The alternative is to see the world as a series of choices, which is why Glasser later renamed Control Theory as Choice Theory. Control theory was also taken up by Wiener in his study of cybernetics and other behaviorists.

A principle of direct control theory is that of negative feedback, where outcomes are compared with intent (or 'goals') and consequently used to moderate actions until intent is optimally achieved. (The 'negative' in the feedback is the difference between the intent and the outcome).

An important consequent aspect of control theory is self-regulation. People are seen as intelligent, goal-driven individuals who control their activities in order to achieve their objectives, goals and needs.

So what?

Using it

Give people things to control, help them control the things in their path, or threaten their sense of control.

Defending

Do not try to control everything -- instead see the world as a series of choices.

See also

Control need, Goal-Setting Theory

 

http://www.exrx.net/Psychology/ControlTheoryReview.html

http://www.wglasser.com/

References

Glasser (1984), Miller, Galanter and Pribram (1960), Wiener (1948)

 

 

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