Rethinking Approach and Avoidance in Achievement Contexts: The Perspective of Dynamical Systems

Christophe Gernigon , Robin Vallacher , Andrzej Nowak , David Conroy


An integrative model of approach and avoidance goals in achievement contexts is proposed based on the concepts and principles of nonlinear dynamical systems. These goals are conceptualized as selforganizing systems in which information relevant to competence expectancies and perceptions of benefit and threat for the self is integrated with respect to either a single coherent state (static integration) or 2 conflicting coherent states (dynamic integration). Mathematical equations depict the emergence of approach and avoidance attractor dynamics from the proposed integration process. The model specifies the conditions under which states of goal involvement will display patterns of resistance (stability), oscillation between approach and avoidance (instability), or reversal (nonlinear change). As a result, this model of approach and avoidance goals equips previous dynamical models of self-regulation with greater social– cognitive substance. It also provides a parsimonious account of achievement motivation and resolves lingering inconsistencies and uncertainties in the achievement goal literature. Moreover, the dynamical systems approach, on which the model is based, provides a heuristic framework for generating new predictions regarding the ebb and flow of approach and avoidance in achievement contexts.
Author Christophe Gernigon
Christophe Gernigon,,
, Robin Vallacher
Robin Vallacher,,
, Andrzej Nowak (Wydział Psychologii)
Andrzej Nowak,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, David Conroy
David Conroy,,
Journal seriesReview of General Psychology, ISSN 1089-2680, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0.7
Keywords in Englishachievement goal, attractor, motivation, nonlinearity, repellor
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
Gernigon et al. (RGP 2015)(1).pdf 363.03 KB
Additional file
2017-03-10-10-54-30-734 (2).pdf 17.37 KB
Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 1.033; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 1.5 (2) - 2015=2.69 (5)
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