Humans have a uniquely complex and adaptable capacity for goal-directed behavior, and human behavior cannot be understood without taking into account people’s ability to direct their own thoughts and actions. Unlike other animals, human beings possess the capacity to regulate their psychological states in the service of pursuing goals, bring their behavior in line with internal or external standards, direct their attention, manage their emotions, and cope with the constantly changing demands of social life. The term self-regulation as used by many psychologists is an umbrella term for both goal-directed behavior itself and the various means by which we attempt, successfully or unsuccessfully, to adapt our goal pursuit to the constantly changing demands of our social world. Although self-regulation has been a topic of ...

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