Control is the Psychological Goal
There are four basic goals of psychology: to describe, explain, predict, and control behavior (Coon, Mitterer, 2013). Although the last goal may sound ominous, it is actually the one the majority of those reading about psychology are most interested in. Although the goal of control is really about helping one control himself in some manner, it often leaks into the desire to control others and situations.
Many may try to deny this, but the desire to control permeates our lives. People want to know, before they commit to a decision, what the best choice will be. People want to control themselves, and their situations. And, in my professional experience as a therapist and a psychology educator, people want to control others. This is true despite aversion to believing so. Prediction and the goals preceding it above, are simply essential components to the ultimate goal of control.
Self-efficacy is a term that describes one’s belief she can take action to meet a challenge. The idea that one can exert control over a situation is linked to better health functioning and psychological health. The perception of control is also directly correlated with happiness, as illustrated beautifully in Rory Sutherland’s TEDx Talk, “Perspective Is Everything”. Happiness and better health functioning, both psychologically and biologically, suggests the idea that control is at least an unconscious goal in people’s lives. However, a problem may lie in the idea that the ability to control one’s actions is the same as controlling a situation. Being able to overcome a challenge is much different than controlling circumstances.
Read the rest here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-second-noble-truth/201402/control-is-the-psychological-goal
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