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On the Problem of Will and Self-Regulation in Cultural-Historical Psychology
Smirnova E.O., Doctor in Psychology, Director of the Center of Play and Toys, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Professor, Chair of Preschool Pedagogic and Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper attempts to differentiate between the concepts of 'will' and 'self-regulation'. Basing on literature research the author presumes that here we deal with two qualitatively different and specific processes: one of them centers around the awareness of an individual's actions, while at the core of the other lies the impulse to act, i.e. motivation. Thus the author sets forth a hypothesis that will and self-regulation have very different psy¬chological content and different lines of development in ontogenesis. Following L.S. Vygotsky, the author considers self-regulation as the ability to control oneself (one's inner and outer activity) with the help of cultural¬ly provided means of organizing behavior. Stages of self-regulation development are therefore shaped by the level of the individual's awareness of his/her activity and by the means employed for its organization. Will, as it has been interpreted over the course of history, is considered as the urge towards active actions, as the pow¬erfulness and persistence of one's wishes and desires (volitions). From this perspective the development of will way be described as the formation of persistent motivation in a child, as the emergence of his/her own desires. The paper reveals the relationship between impulse and awareness in various forms of child activities suggesting that, however specific, will and self-regulation are one in their genesis. The final part discusses issues in modern childhood related to the development of will and self-regulation.
Keywords: will, self-regulation, awareness, mediation, motivation, activity, interpsychic form