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The Sense of Agency$
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Patrick Haggard and Baruch Eitam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190267278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190267278.001.0001

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Control and Truth Working Together

Control and Truth Working Together

The Agentic Experience of “Going in the Right Direction”

(p.327) 15 Control and Truth Working Together
The Sense of Agency

E. Tory Higgins

Oxford University Press

The human life experience is mostly an experience of the process of goal pursuit rather than the outcomes from goal attainment. As Carl Rogers said, the good life is a direction, not a destination. In this way, people’s sense of agency during the process of goal pursuit is fundamental to the good life. People experience a sense of agency when they manage to make things happen, that is, when they are effective at control. But people can be effective at managing to change from state to state regardless of the direction of that change. To manage change in the direction of their goal, people also need to know what is the best or correct direction. Control effectiveness, then, needs to work together with truth effectiveness. When they do work together effectively, humans experience a special kind of sense of agency—the experience of “going in the right direction.”

Keywords:   agency, control, truth, effectiveness, goal attainment

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