An extract on #determination
In the field of psychology, emotion research is heavily focused on negative emotions and the action tendencies that they encourage. However, recent work in positive psychology incorporates the study of determination as a positive emotion that pushes individuals toward action and results in important outcomes such as perseverance and the development of coping mechanisms.
Self-determination theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation and dedication towards our ambition. Self-determination theory (SDT) focuses on the interplay between individual personalities and experiences in social contexts that results in motivations of the autonomous and controlled kind. Ultimately, social environments seem to have a profound effect on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and self-regulation. More specifically, self-determination theory proposes that social and cultural factors influence an individuals sense of personal volition and initiative in regards to goals, performance and well-being. High levels of determination and personal volition are supported by conditions that foster autonomy (e.g., individual has multiple options/choices), competence (e.g., positive feedback) and relatedness (e.g., stable connection to the group an individual is working within).
Emotions researchers continue to search for specific physiological patterns associated with discrete positive emotions; however, the frequent blending of emotions makes drawing such distinctions difficult. In relation to challenge and determination, psychologists have concluded it is best to focus on physiological activation in relation to the individuals intended actions (what he/she is determined to do) rather than how the individual subjectively feels.
Researchers associate effort (action tendency) with challenge and determination; thus, a challenged/determined individual should experience physiological arousal that reflects effort. By focusing on the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), systolic blood pressure (SBP) can be used to measure activation that subsequently indicates increased effort. This means that, individuals who are introduced to a challenging task will experience an increase in SBP when they become determined to complete said task. Furthermore, this increased cardiac output is coupled with lowered total peripheral resistance; meaning, while the heart is pumping faster, the vasculature is relaxed. This finding displays an important distinction between the physiological reaction of an individual motivated by challenge and one motivated by threat or fear. Ultimately, there seems to be a specific physiological pattern associated with determination. The identification of said pattern is valuable as it may be used in research aimed at eliciting and studying the antecedents and consequences of this common positive emotion.
Appraisal theory proposes that determination has three cognitive appraisal components. These appraisals are evaluations of how the environment and situational circumstances interact with aspects of the individual to create meaning and influence emotional experience. In particular, experiences of determination are evoked by appraisals of motivational relevance, which refers to whether a situation is relevant to an individuals commitments and goals; motivational incongruence, which refers to whether a situation is incongruent with an individuals commitments and goals; and high problem-focused coping potential, which refers to whether a situation is evaluated to be one that an individual can deal with by using active coping strategies such as planning and problem-solving. These appraisal components combine to bring on experiences of determination that then motivate the tendency to persevere and strive towards mastery. In accordance with this behavioral tendency, appraisal theory proposes that determination is associated with effortful optimism, referring to the belief that a situation can be improved upon with enough effort from the individual.