This volume presents the reader with a stimulating rich tapestry of essays exploring the nature of action and intentionality, and discussing their role in human development. As the contributions make clear, action is an integrative concept that forms the bridge between our psychological, biological, and sociocultural worlds. Action is also integrative in the sense of entailing motivational, emotional, and cognitive systems, and this integration too is well represented in the chapters. Action is defined, and distinguished from behavior, according to its intentional quality. Thus, a constantly recurring theme in the volume involves the dialectic of action-intentionality, and specifically the questions of how and when these concepts are to be distinguished.

A Motivational-Volitional Perspective on Identity Development

A Motivational-Volitional Perspective on Identity Development

A motivational-volitional perspective on identity development
Peter M.Gollwitzer
Andrea E.Seifert

In this chapter we discuss identity development from a goal implementation perspective. Identity achievement is typically (e.g., Marcia, 1980) defined as a choice between options (e.g., “Should I become a physician or a pharmacist?”). This traditional perspective ignores the fact that identity choices have to be accompanied by implementational efforts.

According to self-completion theory (Wicklund & Gollwitzer, 1982), the implementation of identity goals persists over time, because identity goals cannot actually be completed. In addition, single failures do not stop their pursuit, but lead to enhanced striving for identity goals. A person spontaneously initiates this enhanced striving through compensatory efforts (called self-symbolizing) that focus on indicating completeness to others through the acquisition ...

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