chapter  10
Confl icts as Aversive Signals: Motivation for Control Adaptation in the Service of Affect Regulation
Pages 23

Human beings have an astonishing ability to carry out and control complex behavior, and, moreover, they seem to do so without much effort and conscious awareness about the underlying computational complexity. More precisely, in addition to mere stimulus-response associations (e.g., activate the motor program to stop the car when encountering a red traffi c light), humans have the unique ability to fl exibly adapt behavior in response to a given task context (e.g., override the red traffi c light to make room for an emergency ambulance). Psychologists, aiming at describing and explaining human nature, need to explicate why and how the processing of the identical perceptual information can drive different behavior. This leads to the fundamental question of how attention and action are generally controlled to allow for fl exible, adaptive, and goal-directed behavior in a dynamically changing environment.