Self-Regulation: A Brief Review
A review of self-regulation examined basic volitional factors of goal setting, self-monitoring, activation and use of goals, discrepancy detection and implementation, self-evaluation, self-consequation, self-efficacy, meta-skills, boundary conditions, and self-regulation failure that revealed self-monitoring as fundamental to self-regulation. There is no consensus in the literature concerning definitions, methods and procedures of self-monitoring that may cause validity and reliability issues in research. It was indicated that future research should explore the various phenomenological aspects of psychosomatic function if methodological approaches to self-monitoring are to be more clearly defined.
Recent research has begun exploring the complex process of self-regulation, an important feature in cognitive and somatic behavior therapies. Many interrelating factors appear to govern self-regulation, with no single factor responsible for its success or failure. The ability to self-regulate may have advantages in the course of an individual's mental life, especially within the sporting context. For example, Vealey, Hayashi, Garner-Holman, and Giacobbi (1998) developed a questionnaire over a series of experimental trials that examined sources of sport confidence in 335 college athletes. Nine sources of sport confidence were identified among the athletes that were split into three broad domains (achievement, self-regulation and climate). The athletes rated, first, achievement (includes self-mastery and demonstration of ability), second, self-regulation (includes physical/mental preparation and physical presentation), and third, climate (includes social support, coaches' leadership, vicarious experience, environmental comfort and situational favourableness) in order of perceived priority as the most important sources of improving sport confidence.
Furthermore, the ability to individually self-monitor (Kim, 1999), and self-monitor within a team environment (Kim & Cho, 1996) influences perception of individual and team performance expectations, and confidence of success. Thus, perception of self-control or self-mastery, accompanying the process of self-regulation and self-monitoring, promotes confidence in self and performance of a given task. However, the mechanisms of self-regulation are important to clarify and define to assist the therapist and client to engage in any behavioral change strategy.
Karoly (1993), has conducted an extensive review of self-regulation mechanisms underlying cognitive and somatic based learning in therapy and performance, and defines self-regulation as:
those processes, internal and/or transactional, that enable an individual to guide his/her goal-directed activities over time and across changing circumstances (contexts). Regulation implies modulation of thought, affect, behavior, or attention via deliberate or automated use of specific mechanisms and supportive meta-skills. The processes of self-regulation are initiated when routinized activity is impeded or when goal-directedness is otherwise made salient (e.g., the appearance of a challenge, the failure of habitual action patterns, etc).
Self-regulation appears to be the stable element attempting to guide behavior along a specific path to a directed aim or goal. However, apart from procedural, epistemic and conceptual divergences in various models of self-regulation, basic volitional factors, such as goal setting, self-monitoring, activation and use of goals, discrepancy detection and implementation, self-evaluation, self-consequation, self-efficacy, meta-skills, boundary conditions, and self-regulation failure, characterize the process of self-regulation (Karoly, 1993). Therefore, a brief discussion of the basic tenants outlined in self-regulation models may assist in identifying key issues in improving performance.
Though attitudes and beliefs (Gill, 1986; Riddle, 1990), and motivation (Carmack & Martens, 1979; Dishman, 1984; Weinberg, 1984) contribute to the athletes' approach towards training and competition, initiation and adherence to goal setting involves distinct levels of directed behavior for a specific aim (Brunelle, Janelle, & Tennant, 1999; Chen & Singer, 1992; Green-Demers, Pelletier, Stewart, & Gushue, 1998; Kane, Marks, Zaccaro, & Blair, 1996). Directions of behaviors are influenced by long- and short-term, important and non-important, and easy and difficult goals that are prioritized and strategically implemented according to individual aims during self-regulation. Once a specific self-regulation treatment has been learned and adapted for a specific behavior, it becomes increasingly difficult to change treatment to be congruent with long-term goals. In other words, too much deviation from the original path may lead to never finding the same path again. Thus, clear and defined goal setting is essential in the initial approach to self-regulation.
Once goal setting has been developed, the ability to self-monitor becomes essential because attention to internal and external cues, through greater self-awareness, leads to faster and more appropriate control of intervention strategies. Attention to internal states (thoughts, feeling, sensations) and external states (bodily movement and environment) is a different phenomenon from attentional styles, though there is overlap between the two. Attentional styles involve the relationship of concentration and focus, or perception selection, to a dynamic environment (Zaichkowsky, 1984). Attentional styles can range from broad-external focus of attention (optimal for reading complex sport situations and assessing the environment, i.e., good anticipation skills), broad-internal focus of attention (optimal for analyzing sport within the context of strategies and plans, and for future anticipated events, i.e., quick learners), narrow-external focus of attention (able to pay attention on the necessary stimuli at the right moments with the correct responses), and narrow-internal focus of attention (ability to psyche oneself up and calm oneself down) (Nideffer, 1981). There are degrees and combinations of the aforementioned foci of attention across and within individuals. How much of these types of attentional styles, and their combinations, is a product of personality and/or trainable is still unclear, but attentional styles appear to be related to the degree of internal and external distraction (Singer et al., 1991), and the degree of conscious and automatic control an individual possesses for a given task (Hardy, Mullen, & Jones, 1996). That is, it is the ability of the athlete to intervene and separate important mental content from non-important derived from specific stimuli, and to know when to consciously over-ride actions or to allow automatic processes to continue. This process is governed by the skill of the individual to self-monitor effectively.
To ascertain effective self-monitoring, Snyder (1979), has separated two distinct types involving high self-monitors (those individuals who use cues from others to regulate their behavior) and low self-monitors (those individuals who are controlled from within by their affective states and attitudes). Splitting self-monitoring criteria into these two simplified domains leaves out a considerable number of variables that influence the self-monitoring process. One of these variables is the definition of self-monitoring, normally taken as the level of self-awareness that an individual has over psychological content. However, high and low self-monitors, defined by Snyder (1979), appear to rest on external rather than internal cues. For example, someone who is defined as a high self-monitor takes external cues (other people's behavior towards them) as an indication of what behavior modification is required from a specific situation. This may be appropriate for social events where etiquette needs to be observed, but under sporting competitions this may be detrimental. Conversely, low self-monitors take internal cues (observation of one's own psychological state) as an indication of behavior modification. For most sporting situations low self-monitors would be at an advantage because they would not be as likely to fluctuate with the numerous external cues, but would be more likely to remain psychologically stable in a dynamic environment. The definitions designated by Snyder (1979) to different self-monitoring attributes may serve to confuse appropriate use of self-monitoring. More specifically, high self-monitors monitor the environment more so than themselves, unlike low self-monitors. Therefore, attributing the process of self-monitoring to high self-monitors defeats the intention of the definition. For practical purposes, low self-monitors monitor themselves whereas high self-monitors monitor the environment.
Defining self-monitors this way has led to contradictory results in some studies. For example, Chatterjee, Hunt and Kernan (1999) found that in an information processing experiment, low self-monitors exhibited significantly higher mean recognition scores than high self-monitors, contradictory to what the Snyder (1979) definition should have obtained. High self-monitors should be better at cognitive processing because of better self-observational power. As was said above, this may be because high self-monitors learn to discriminate external cues better than internal, and thus, when a cognitive task is given, a distinct lack of internal attention would be evident.
Lester (1997) found that high self-monitoring subjects reported experiencing "multiple selves" (i.e., different aspects of external behavior) in social situations more so than low self-monitoring subjects. High self-monitors recognized more external cues that changed their behavior than low self-monitors. Although these results coincide with Snyder's predicted performance of high self-monitors, it does not indicate whether they could observe their psychological content (thoughts and feelings), or simply knew (recalled) they were behaving differently. Conversely, the low self-monitors, not reporting an experience of multiple selves, did not indicate whether, from observing themselves, they chose not to react to external cues and preserve that state of self.
Graziano and Bryant (1998) found that high self-monitors reacted to bogus biofeedback (heart-rate monitoring) when viewing slides of attractive people more so than low self-monitors, coinciding with Snyder's (1979) theory. However, like Lester (1997), no differentiation was made concerning the ability of high and low self-monitors to regulate internal states of self. The authors concluded that high self-monitors are more susceptible to external stimuli than low self-monitors and could not give a causative explanation.
Macrae, Bodenhausen and Milne (1998) found that subjects who were in a heightened state of self-focus (low self-monitors) were able to suppress social stereotypes better than in a non-self-focused state (high self-monitoring). This indicated that the terms of high and low self-monitors should be reversed when dealing with internal (self) regulation rather than adherence to external cues. The conclusion, in terms of self-monitoring aspects (internal versus external) is also supported by Webb, Marsh, Schneiderman, and Davis (1989) that found low self-monitors were better able to manipulate private self-awareness (awareness of own behavior towards others) than high self-monitors, but high self-monitors were better able to manipulate public self-awareness (awareness of other's behavior towards themselves).
Apart from disagreement in definitions, self-monitoring can be influenced by personality type, that is, a particular predisposition or temperament an individual possesses that allows pursuit and maintenance of conscious self-monitoring (Caligiuri & Day, 2000). Gender appears to play a role in self-monitoring and regulation in different socio-cultural situations (Rekers & Varni, 1977), but whether this is a socio-economic or hereditary construct is unclear, particularly in sports (Anshel & Porter, 1996a, 1996b). Motor skill level and expertise generally correlate with better self-monitoring as the athlete learns various individual strategies to improve skills with experience, though these strategies may be limited in development, it clearly gives experienced athletes an advantage over novices (Ferrari, Pinard, Reid, & Bouffard-Bouchard, 1991). Some individuals, in an attempt to protect their ego from self-criticism, may disregard vital information from observation in a self-serving bias, and thus, limit the effectiveness of self-monitoring (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1993; Krosnick & Sedikides, 1990). Attentional styles to field dependence/independence, and locus of control, influence perceived internal and external cues mediated in the self-monitoring process, although, it appears that different attentional styles can be taught (Leventhal & Sisco, 1996). When learning, or fine tuning particular skills, the capacity to observe and imitate influences self-monitoring ability (Ferrari, 1996). Depletion patterns in conscious effort occur over sustained periods of self-monitoring and self-regulation that restrict further effort, and thus, the ability to sustain constant and consistent efforts of self-monitoring may be limited by the familiarity of the athlete with self-monitoring, or insufficient capability (Muraven, Tice, & Baumeister, 1998). Even before adequate self-monitoring can be implemented, multiple factors influence the effectiveness and efficiency of individual performance. If these factors are not considered in the initial implementation of self-regulation strategies, in relation to self-monitoring, set goals may not be achievable.
Another factor influencing self-monitoring and self-monitoring research is reliability and accuracy of self-reports. Nasby (1989) found that low self-monitors (high degree of private self-consciousness, but low public self-consciousness) were able to provide greater reliability across time than high self-monitors (low degree of private self-consciousness, but high public self-consciousness). This is because individuals possessing high private self-consciousness, or a greater ability in self-awareness, have articulated self-schemata of greater temporal stability than individuals in low private self-consciousness.
Briggs and Cheek (1988), investigating Snyder and Gangestad's (1986) 18-item measure of the self-monitoring scale, a revised scale of Snyder (1979), suggest that it is time to move beyond the construct of Snyder's (1987) model of self-monitoring. This is because it is assumed that there is a bipolarity of social and personal orientations, uniformity among those scoring high on the self-monitoring scale, as well as uniformity among those scoring low on the self-monitoring scale, and the lack of clarity concerning the role of intentionality in self-representational processes. Most of the self-monitoring measures conducted in a majority of recent research under the Snyder scale split people into two distinct groups, two extremes in a theorized self-monitoring construct. Obviously, this never happens in real life where there is more often than not combinations and merging of the two, dependent upon situational needs. This is especially important because research conducted in the laboratory is a different situation compared to life events. Artificial settings may cause nervousness and anxieties that dominate in one self-monitoring mode rather than the other that may be more natural to the individual.
The Snyder scale assumes uniformity among high self-monitors (the social psychology), and low self-monitors (the personality psychology), that is, they monitor similar external or internal cues. Intentionality of self-presentation processes is also not factored into the scale. From a personality perspective (extroversion/introversion, etc), do the self-monitors, upon self-report, intentionally manipulate information, either consciously or unconsciously, to present themselves in a certain light? How much does personality or socio-cultural influences play a part in the validity of self-monitoring? Li and Zhang (1998) have attempted to discriminate the personality factor in intentional self-presentation within a revised self-monitoring scale, but found the scale useful only for cross-cultural purposes as relatively known cultural elements from the individuals' respective country could be correlated with personal data. Therefore, there appears to be many underlying factors, causes and situational dependencies that manipulate the ability of an individual to self-monitor. This may not be solely due to individual differences, but to the data collection methods.
Data Collection in Sport of Self-Monitoring
In sport, and more specifically motor skill acquisition, the process of self-monitoring has primarily been focused upon performance-based results. Self-monitoring and self-regulation are concentrated on specific motor tasks to improve performance. Feedback from self-monitoring is assumed to correlate with performance outcomes, i.e., if performance increases over time, self-monitoring has been successful. This allows quantitative data to be collected and correlated with possible qualitative increases in self-monitoring and self-regulatory processes.
For example, Kirschenbaum, Ordman, Tomarken, and Holtzbauer (1982), Kirschenbaum and Bale (1984), Noland (1989), Kirschenbaum and Wittrock (1990), Martin and Anshel (1995), Beauchamp, Halliwell, Fournier, and Koestner (1996), Anshel and Porter (1996a, 1996b), Zimmerman and Kitsantas (1996), Kitsantas and Zimmerman (1998), Ryska (1998), Thiese and Huddleston (1999), have used questionnaires, inventories and self-reports to discriminate between the level of self-monitoring ability with skill performance indicators of specific tasks. They demonstrated that an increase in self-monitoring, coupled with self-regulatory strategies, leads to increases in skill performance, regardless of the skill (i.e., open/closed). To enhance self-monitoring feedback, Kirschenbaum, Wittrock, Smith and Monson (1984), and Johnston-O'Connor and Kirschenbaum (1986), have combined post-experimental questionnaires and video-taped feedback with specific skill indicators of performance showing similar results. Prapavessis, Grove, McNair, and Cable (1992), also enhanced self-monitoring processes by combining questionnaires, relaxation, thought stoppage, refocusing, coping statements, and biofeedback with self-monitoring to decrease state anxiety in a small-bore rifle shooter to increase performance. However, Muraven, et al. (1998) did not use any of the regular questionnaires or video-taped feedback methods, but instead used individuals to self-control their own training regime with the purpose of improving grip strength over time. They found that individuals, who were motivated to perform the task, naturally self-monitored and self-regulated their behavior to coincide with set goals, with the measure of self-regulatory ability representative of improvements in grip strength. This was similar to Bös and Mechling's (1982) findings that showed self-regulation measures were successful in increasing performance and learning of a complex skill if movement conception was properly taught from a multiple-approach method (i.e., taught conceptually, visually, kinesthetically and cognitively) without overt intervention from specific self-regulation strategies. If the individual cognized the importance of various aspects of the complex skill (i.e., understood the fundamental properties of the task from multiple perspectives), they could in turn develop their own self-regulation strategies, and results of self-regulation were represented in performance improvement. A similar procedure was performed by Bell and Patterson (1978) with swimmers keeping their own logs for immediate quantitative feedback as an indication source for the effectiveness of their self-regulation and self-monitoring strategies with positive results.
The above mentioned studies concerning self-monitoring and self-regulation in sport and motor skills used intervention methods to specifically increase task performance. Subjects were directed to self-monitor and then self-regulate those behaviors critical to the specific task. However, as Karoly (1993) explains, self-monitoring involves more than monitoring actions, or cognitive events leading to those actions, but also the social, cognitive, emotional and somatic reactions occurring as a result of environmental and self-directed influences. That is, self-monitoring actions or non-actions required for task effectiveness in a given motor skill discards many of the psychological circumstances leading to performance itself. This is a reflection of the Set Hypothesis elucidated by Nascon and Schmidt (1971) whereby awareness of psychological events preceding and during a given task allows the athlete to see a more complete picture of the cognitive, emotional and somatic elements conducive for performance. The above mentioned studies do not appear to consider this in their self-monitoring process, and no explanation of what exactly is to be monitored by the individuals, in terms of the psychological events occurring during or after the task, is given in a concrete format. Only specific skill actions related to the task from feedback of performance is employed.
This aspect of self-monitoring is important because as Kirschenbaum (1985) explains, there are four additional principles in self-regulation that influence the effectiveness of any self-regulation program. These principles include (1) the self-monitoring process itself, i.e., what the individual attempts to self-monitor, (2) differences in self-monitoring styles, i.e., private/low or public/high self-monitors, (3) differential expectancies and self-monitoring with respect to task mastery, i.e., the individual's attitude whether positive or negative to self-monitoring and the task, and (4) extraneous emotional and cognitive factors not related to the task but affecting the task, i.e., issues relating to the individual's personal and/or social life. Without considering these factors influencing self-regulation, any implemented strategies can be limited in their effectiveness. The self-monitoring process, in regards to sport specific research, appears to omit these important psychological considerations in self-monitoring. There seems to be no consensus, or methodological approach, apart from skill-oriented procedures, that reflect the multi-faceted nature of self-monitoring affecting goal directed behavior.
The Activation and Use of Goal Setting
Another aspect in self-regulation is the activation of goal directed behaviors to guide individual responses to task performance. After self-monitoring over a given period, internal and external cues initiate a modulation of thought, affect or behavior under goal-setting directives (Karoly, 1993). These responses are presumably stored in long-term working memory that can constantly scan psycho-physiological content during activity and alert the individual to impending discrepancies in behavior producing conscious intervention generating a self-regulatory response.
Karoly (1993) alludes to two issues concerning the ability of the individual to employ self-regulation methods as directed by goal settings. Firstly, it can not be presumed that individuals work with only one mind controlling the entire operation of the self-regulatory process, but there exists a multiple-mind approach. Self-regulatory processes are most probably under the control of many interconnected "mind-centers" within the individual. For example, self-regulatory procedures that predominantly use conceptualization to intervene in cognitive matters require intellectual strategies; self-regulatory procedures attempting to alter movement require somatic strategies; and, emotional self-regulation requires affective based strategies. Unless the self-regulation procedure accurately identifies what mind-center or predominant mode of function (i.e., intellectual, somatic or emotional) is employed in the given task, inappropriate self-regulation strategies may be used under goal directives. For example, if an individual is attempting to alter hand movements, such as a persistent fidgeting of the fingers during a dexterous activity, then merely stopping the unnecessary movements through somatic interventions (i.e., when the individual observes the fidgeting they stop the movement) may not be sufficient. The fidgeting may be a result of nervousness or expressed anxiety arising from the cognitive center, and intervening with the somatic center may serve to shift the fidget from one body part to another because the displayed fidgeting is a symptom rather than a cause. A cognitive based strategy (i.e., observing what initiated the anxiety and intervening through positive reinforcement), may be more effective in controlling the nervousness because it seeks to discover and intervene at the underlying cause rather than the affecting the symptom.
Secondly, intense and frequent self-focused attention, or self-awareness, is important to identify relevant cues. Continual and intense self-monitoring before, during and after the activity allows increased awareness of what cues need to be identified, and altered, to align with intended goals, i.e., distinguishing between real-time and reflective self-monitoring. Reflective ability is required for initial and further learning in self-regulation, but only real-time self-monitoring can effect executed self-regulation strategies and fundamental change.
The research cited in the general and sport specific self-monitoring approaches do not consider the relationship of multiple centers or real-time/reflective actions in self-monitoring. The sport related studies assume motor skill (somatic function or the somatic center) as the predominate means for self-regulation strategies. Implementing a single center strategy may not be appropriate for another center, and considering the multi-faceted nature of approaching and executing motor skills, much of the self-regulatory process may be limited.
Discrepancy Detection and Implementation,
Self-Evaluative Judgment, and Self-Consequation
An important feature in self-regulation is detecting discrepancies between ideal behavior and current behavior according goal setting objectives. It appears to be affected by motivation and knowledge of results when comparing ideal and current behavior. Self-evaluating detected discrepancies along a spectrum of favorable to unfavorable behavior, and then self-consequation (i.e., deciding what intervention to use) by reinforcing or reducing behavior through positive or negative self-communication, influences the self-regulatory strategies (Kirschenbaum, 1984; Williams, Donovan, & Dodge, 2000).
Many factors influence discrepancy detection, and the post-procedure of self-evaluating and self-consequation in self-regulation (Karoly, 1993). These factors include; (a) the degree of increase in effortful behavior following feedback regarding substandard performance is greater for individuals high in self-efficacy than those low in self-efficacy. Self-efficacy theory postulates that broad based knowledge, specific monitoring, discrepancy detection skills and implementation are insufficient to insure goal-based performance, as witnessed by the fact that people often do not do what they are perfectly capable of doing, and thus, hinder goal attainment. That is, self-efficacy appears to be self-perception of one's own capability to execute the actions required to deal with a given task (Bandura, 1986, 1997; Bouffard-Bouchard, 1989). However, whether self-efficacy is influenced by beliefs about self-monitoring ability, planning, motivation, confidence in self-evaluation, self-confidence in general, personality, or dispositional style, remains unclear; (b) performance in achievement situations varies with whether the standards are self-set or externally determined; (c) the degree of mismatch or displacement between performance and standard affects effort and self-appraisal; (d) the effects of negative evaluation following substandard performance on complex tasks are opposite to those found on simple tasks-namely, performance/efforts is reduced; (e) satisfaction is related not only to the absolute level of discrepancy between performance and standard but also to the rate at which the performance changes over time; (f) social comparisons can affect the self-reward process, as for example, when self-reward after successful performance is diminished if others are known to have performed better, and self-punishment after poor performance is diminished if others are known to have performed worse.
Overall, the factors influencing effectiveness of self-evaluative judgment and self-consequation are determined by the implementation of discrepancy detection skills (i.e., an array of mental skills techniques), but the initial ability of detecting discrepancies is a result of effective self-monitoring.
Meta-Skills, Boundary Conditions, and Self-Regulation Failure
Meta-skills or meta-cognition are those skills required in the self-regulatory process that govern the holistic coordination of self-regulation (Lee & Chen, 1996; Wall, Reid, & Paton, 1990). Memory retrieval and correct temporal activation, forethought, self-reflectiveness, the capacity to learn vicariously, use of imagery and language, and emotional and intellectual intelligence, are needed in a coordinated approach for volitional freedom to exercise self-influence in self-regulation. By cognizing what one is doing in self-regulation outside the execution of self-regulation strategies, or the skills about thinking about skills (Allen & Armour-Thomas, 1993; Jacobson, 1998), a greater perspective can be obtained to guide attitudes and beliefs concerning effective ways to self-regulate. Moreover, this means that the degree of self-knowledge obtained in relation to the given task, from executing those skills to cognizing methods of how to better coordinate those skills, the more effective the overall self-regulation plan. This is because meta-skills allow the individual to adapt to different situations in accordance with goal directed skills more freely through a process of inner development guided by experience and knowledge.
Karoly (1993) alludes to two forms of boundary conditions as elements superimposing themselves on the self-regulation process. Firstly, inferential boundaries are epistemic limits imposed upon an individual, i.e., even though it is assumed that self-regulation is ultimately an individual effort, accomplished alone, many social factors contribute to self-regulation effectiveness. For example, the pursuit of goals often involves other people's assistance, and in fact, one objective may be to excite other's reactions to help one's performance. Thus, goal attainment is a culture-specific social problem-solving process, as well as an individual process.
Secondly, operational boundaries are the salient or plausible limits on the realization of self-regulation. For example, persons high in self-efficacy and in possession of the requisite skills, whether real or imagined, will not work toward goals in the absence of incentives. This is because someone will generally not work to obtain something they believe they already possess. Nor can individuals be expected to persist in goal-directed behavior in the face of powerful counter influences by significant others, that is, if there is no realistic way to achieve results, people will not generally even begin any goal directed work.
The self-regulatory failure is another factor in the self-regulatory process. This is important because people's efforts at self-management, even when professionally assisted, do not always yield successful short- or long-term results (Kirschenbaum, 1984). Self-regulation failure may occur if any of the above mentioned factors, such as goal setting, self-monitoring, activation and use of goals, discrepancy detection and implementation, self-evaluation, self-consequation, self-efficacy, meta-skills, and boundary conditions have been inappropriately implemented or insufficiently utilized. However, other extraneous variables, such as social and cultural environments, personality traits, task difficulty, experience, confidence level, etc, contribute to possible failure mechanisms. The exact causes of self-regulatory failure do not appear governed by a single factor, but most probably entail many factors acting in concert (Tomarken & Kirschenbaum, 1982).
The basis of self-regulation is self-monitoring. There are several issues that appear to have no consensus in the literature concerning self-monitoring. These issues are:
1. Defining self-monitoring: high and low self-monitors are categorized on different bases. For example, high self-monitors possess more public awareness than low self-monitors, but low self-monitors possess more private awareness than high self-monitors. If the definition of self-monitoring is the ability to observe oneself, i.e., one's psychophysiological processes, then high self-monitors are actually low self-monitors and low self-monitors are high self-monitors. This is because high self-monitors concern themselves with more external than internal events, and low self-monitors with internal rather than external events. Therefore, future research should explore the various facets of psychophysiological events from a phenomenological perspective.
2. Method of self-monitoring: the methods of current research in self-monitoring displays many different approaches. The validity and reliability of self-reports, inventories, and questionnaires is debatable because of inherent and constructed biases of culture, meaning and subjectivity. Videotape and task performance feedback were also offered as a correlate with self-monitoring/self-regulating ability. During all these data gathering methods, no distinctions were made between real-time and reflective self-monitoring that may be important for successful implementation of a self-regulation program.
3. What to self-monitor: the reviewed literature concerning sports and motor skill performance concentrated the application of self-monitoring to the specific criteria of task performance, i.e., self-monitoring and self-regulation was correlated with performance outcomes. There appears to be multiple minds, or centers (cognitive, emotive and somatic) operating in any self-regulation program, and the differences of these minds or centers were never elucidated to subjects in the abovementioned studies. Apart from observing physical movement with the senses, instructions concerning self-monitoring of specific psychological states, with respect to intellectual and emotive experience, was never explained clearly. This is an important aspect of the self-monitoring process reflected by the Set Hypothesis. If the individual has never monitored these states in themselves, then the psychological background of performance may never come to self-awareness.
From the above issues, point (1) relates to terminological differences, and thus, if self-monitoring is defined by its very nature as the action of "monitoring self", then a consensus on this issue can bring its resolution. Point (2) relates to methodological approaches in measurement of self-monitoring, and can only be resolved through the resolution of point (3) that concerns itself with the objectives of self-monitoring. Therefore, future research should explore the various phenomenological aspects of psychosomatic function if methodological approaches to self-monitoring are to be more clearly defined.
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