Affect, Goals, and the Self-Regulation of Behavior: Joseph P. Forgas and Patrick T. Vargas
Carver and Scheier present an impressively broad "grand theory" of the genesis and regulation of social behavior, placing particular emphasis on the role of goal-directed actions and feedback mechanisms in this process. The model draws on a wide-ranging and diverse sampling of the literature on behavior control; as they claim with admirable modesty, "very little of what is in this article is unique" (p. 2). Despite the avowedly eclectic nature of their enterprise, the magnitude of the topic-behavioris so enormous that no single paper could do full justice to the task. As is the case with most such grand theories, the devil is often in the detail. Our objective with these comments is not to challenge the impressive overall conceptual scheme advanced. Rather, we hope to point out some of the problems and inconsistencies inherent in Carver and Scheier's treatment of constructs such as goals. Most of our comments focus on what we see as the model's less than adequate treatment of affective phenomena. We suggest a number of ways that the role of affective states as antecedent influences on goal setting, action plans, and behavior regulation could be more adequately covered in the theory.