Reconstrual of “Free Will” From the Agentic Perspective of Social Cognitive Theory
This chapter reconstrues “free will” in terms of the exercise of personal control through cognitive and self-regulative processes. In this conception, psychosocial functioning is the product of a dynamic triadic interplay of intrapersonal, behavioral, and environmental determinants. Within this triadic determination, deliberative thought not only alters the relation between environmental influences and behavioral outcomes, but fosters courses of action that change the physical and social environments. Because personal influence is part of the determining conditions, individuals have a hand in shaping the course of events. Individuals are neither aware of nor directly control neuronal mechanisms. Rather, they exercise second-order control. By intentionally engaging in activities over which they exercise direct control, they indirectly shape the functional structure and enlist the subserving neuronal events in the service of diverse purposes.
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