Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 18, Iss. 1, January, 2014, pp. 67-90
@2014 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Ought-Approach versus Ought-Avoidance: Nonlinear Effects on Arousal under Achievement Situations

Dimitrios Stamovlasis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Georgios D. Sideridis, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Abstract: The present study examines the dimensions of oughts under a nonlinear perspective. Ought-approach and ought-avoidance have been proposed as two different dimensions of oughts, which have an opposite effect on subjects’ arousal level under achievement situation. The change in arousal level measured by heart rates per minute (HRPM) was modeled as cusp catastrophe by implementing the two dimensions of oughts as the control parameters: the ought-approach as the asymmetry and the ought-avoidance as the bifurcation factor. The cusp model was proved by far superior from the three alternative linear models and provided the empirical evidence that the two dimensions of oughts are distinct and are associated with different processes. The ought-avoidance dimension being the bifurcation factor acts in a destructive manner by introducing nonlinearity and uncertainty in the self-regulation process (with regard to HRPM). The interpretation of the model is provided and implications are discussed.

Keywords: ought-approach, ought-avoidance, motivation, self-regulation, heart rate, nonlinear dynamics, cusp catastrophe, self-organization