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Wayne L. Klein, PhD

Neuropsychological Assessment of Children & Adults; Couples & Individual Psychotherapy Offices in Franklin, MA & Spaulding Center for Children, Sandwich, MA
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SR What is Self?
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Q: What is self in self-regulation?
A: The term Self-Regulation is a misnomer. What is regulated is internal and external behavior including attention and other cognitive processes.

A: Sense of self is a perceptual phenomenon. Like all perceptions, self is generated moment by moment. Self may be thought of as being constructed in, being a creature of working memory. Many aspects of self have very strong roots in memory, but the self is also influenced by momentary internal and external events, especially including social interactions

A: As a first pass, think of self as a dynamic configuration of beliefs, values, motives, perceptions and goals. One way to view self-regulatory failure is failure to maintain a self with the chosen goal.
From this perspective, strength of will implies stable self. If the self that made the New Years resolution is stable then the resolution is less likely to be broken.

A:Because self is continuously regenerated moment by moment does not necessarily imply instability. Some people have pretty consistent selves, just as some nations have pretty consistent governments and pretty consistent policies. However, unless we are stuck in a major depression, our self will change in response to internal physiological and external social and other environmental changes. There may be huge changes or minor changes resulting in minor or major changes in behavior.

A:The politicians (or dictators) in power are analagous to the self. It is commonplace for leaders to attempt to set up conditions such that policies are not easily changed when rivals asssume power. This is equivalent to Self A (a state of mind motivated to lose weight) getting unhealthy foods out of the house- so when (hungry) Self B emerges, the policies of Self A are continued. Some governments are very stable, others have frequent changes of leadership. wide swings in policy.