The hierarchical competing systems model provides a process account of social decision making

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Janet J. Boseovski, Associate Professor (Creator)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: We applaud Richardson, Mulvey, and Killen’s [2012] application of the hierarchical competing systems model (HCSM) to models of social decision making. The HCSM is a framework of the development of executive function that was formulated to account for patterns of behavior in infant and toddler search tasks. However, the principles of the model are relevant across a wide range of domains throughout the lifespan [Marcovitch & Zelazo, 2009]. According to the HCSM framework, behavior (or decision making) results from the joint contributions of a habit system (appropriately relabeled ‘experience’ by Richardson et al.) and a representational system. In turn, the act of reflection – defined as representing a representation – strengthens the influence of the representational system to the point where it can override the influence of the habit system. Importantly, reflection is not always needed for an individual to act in a novel, appropriate fashion (i.e., this can occur through the influences of unreflective representations). That said, the presence of reflection allows for the modification of behavior (or preexisting rationales for decision making) based solely on endogenous processes, even when these endogenous processes can be triggered from environmental events. In short, we argue that unexpected changes in the environment have the potential to initiate reflection, provided that the individual is attentive, capable of processing the nature of the disturbance, and motivated to reconcile the situation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
human development, decision making, social decision making, executive function, habit systems

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