Term Paper: Psychology (Personality) Hypo-Egoic Self-Regulation: Exercising Self-Control

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Psychology (Personality)

Hypo-egoic self-regulation: Exercising self-control by diminishing the influence of the self" by M. Leary, C. Adams and E. Tate

In this article by Leary et. al., the concept of hypo-egoic self-regulation was developed through an integration of different components that ultimately make self-regulation possible. In developing the concept of hypo-egoic self-regulation, the authors posited that "hypo-egoic states may be facilitated by intentionally and consciously taking steps that will reduce the degree to which one's behavior is under deliberate executive control." This was the main thesis of the study, stated as an objective wherein the authors would like "to examine occasions on which people relinquish deliberate, conscious control over their own behavior so that they will respond more naturally, spontaneously, or automatically" (1804).

In uncovering this finding in the study, the authors looked into occasions and instances in which self-regulation of the self fails. This investigation was done to determine the factors that contribute to low self-control, and consequently, contribute to lowered hypo-egoic state. One of the main factors that identified the complexity of the concept of hypo-egoic state is that it is paradoxical: the main thrust of the authors was that in order to achieve self-control of the self, one has to relinquish the idea that s/he seeks to control himself/herself. The futility of this said paradox was determined to be the key that guided the authors in studying further the conceptual and operational concepts surrounding self-control and hypo-egoic state.

One of the best cited examples that demonstrated the paradoxical, yet futile, nature of conscious self-regulation / self-control was the process of dieting. To demonstrate hypo-egoic state as a paradox, the authors cited how dieting, while dominated by the idea of self-control, can defeat its very purpose, as experiments have shown and discussed in the article. In the duration of a person's dieting phase, the tendency for him/her to undergo binge eating increases; thus, in the event that an individual 'momentary' loses self-control, s/he would eventually succumb to binge eating. In this event, the individual has momentarily lost self-control, resulting to a worse consequence, such as "short-term weight fluctuations" and "sometimes long-term weight gain" (1807).

This example of a futile attempt at self-control demonstrated the paradox in achieving a hypo-egoic state. Thus, in order to discover the key towards a successful achievement of hypo-egoic state, the authors conceptually determined the factors that could influence the conduct of successful self-control. These factors were: (1) achieving spontaneous hypoe-egoic states; (2) decreasing self-awareness; and (3) increasing the concreteness of self-thoughts.

The factor of spontaneously achieving hypo-egoic state was made possible, according to the authors' study of previous researches, when an individual focuses on practice, flow, deindividuation, transcendence, and involvement in escapist activities. Practice and flow pertain to the conduct of activities without much thinking involved in terms of the activity's outcome. Repeated practice on an activity results to mastery of the activity, thus flow becomes an inevitable characteristic for individuals who are able to achieve self-control of their activities, without actively thinking about the activity itself and its outcome. Deindividuation occurs when, in the process of achieving this mastered activity, the individual gradually loses awareness of the self; instead focus was shifted from the self to the activity itself. Consequently, in the process of deindividuation, the individual achieves the process of transcendence, wherein s/he is able to accomplish beyond what was perceived to be his/her capabilities. In essence, constant practice results to the flowing conduct of an activity or endeavor, consequently leading the individual to achieve the transcendent state. Thus, going 'beyond' what the individual realistically perceived to be his/her capabilities makes the activity itself an "escapist activity." Thus, these series of processes became the factors that made hypo-egoic state a spontaneous condition not only of the physical body, but the psychological state of the individual, most importantly.

The other main factors influencing hypo-egoic state are enumerated and discussed separately, albeit similarly, in the succeeding sections of the article. As explicated earlier, constant and intensive involvement in an activity results to gradual decrease in self-awareness, hence deindividuation and transcendence happen. In the same line of argument, the process of decreasing self-awareness happens only when the individual increases the concreteness of the individual's thoughts about the activity. That is, rather than thinking of the outcome of the activity, the individual in a hypo-egoic state focuses instead on the particular task at hand, which is just a part of the whole (i.e., the activity itself).

The article on hypo-egoic state is an appropriate topic in understanding and discovering new perspectives in looking at the phenomenon of self-regulation. In today's preoccupation of society on 'new age' states such as centering, meditation and strict imposition of self-control over the desires of the human appetite, the authors' discussion on self-control and the hypo-egoic state bring into fore how today's society focused on self-control as a solution to resolving the seemingly lack of people's control over the flurry of activities coming into their lives because of the fast-paced social environment.

Personality and Self-Regulation: Trait and information-processing perspectives" by Rick Hoyle

This article by Rick Hoyle discusses the topic of self-regulation at a normative level -- that is, there is a perception that self-regulation means the inhibition of human appetites or any activities that need to be regulated or controlled by the individual. This article differed from Leary et. al.'s discussion on self-control and the hypo-egoic state, wherein the authors posited that the key to self-control was to not consciously think of imposing control on one's self and the activity being done.

In describing self-regulation, Hoyle determined it to be a process wherein the "individual becomes increasingly more able to delay gratification and increasingly less prone to act impulsively or in response to external pressure" (1509). In this determination of the concept of self-regulation, the author interpreted the concept as related to the human appetite and the social environment. Focus on the social environment demonstrated the social pressure put into the individual, which could lead to either an increase or decrease in self-regulation. Moreover, by considering the social environment as a factor influential to self-regulation, Hoyle was also implicitly illustrating self-regulation as a function of the social environment. This was an interpretation that contrasted Leary et. al.'s main thrust in their discussion of the hypo-egoic state, since their focus had been on the intrapersonal relations of the individual -- that is, mind and body coordination during the conduct of achieving success in activities and tasks.

In the case of Hoyle's discussion and analysis, elf-regulation is evidently a relation between the society and individual. That is, an individual's motivation to self-regulate in an activity or endeavor is brought about by the level of pressure put upon him/her by the social environment. In effect, self-regulation is motivated by external factors, and if Leary et. al.'s generalizations are to be used as a gauge of the self-regulation concept, then self-regulation cannot be successfully achieved because there is an absence of the transcendental state, since the individual is mindful of the outcome of the activity at hand and mindful of the reactions that his/her success or failure may elicit from the external/social environment.

In further describing the occurrence of self-regulation in society today, Hoyle cited two important factors influential to this concept: conscientiousness and impulsivity. Under the concept of conscientiousness, he posited that an individual with a low level of conscientiousness could also have a low level of self-regulation. This was brought about by the fact that conscientious people are "confident, disciplined, orderly, and planful," traits that, indeed, ensures the possibility of control over one's activities (1510). Conversely, individuals who have traits negating the above-mentioned characteristics are said to be individuals with low levels of conscientiousness, hence, also a low level of self-regulation.

Similarly, impulsivity is considered a factor contributing to self-regulation… [END OF PREVIEW]

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