Advertisement

Dialectical Relationships Among Human Autonomy, the Brain, and Culture

  • Valery I. Chirkov
Chapter
Part of the Cross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology book series (CAPP, volume 1)

Abstract

In this chapter the author examines relationships among human psychological autonomy, the brain, and culture. Human autonomy is an evolved capacity of Homo sapiens that has dialectical relations with people’s socio-cultural environments and is a universal and necessary condition for people’ optimal functioning. Human autonomy is neither a social construction nor an illusion. It is a real psychological power behind people’s lives and actions but it requires a socio-symbolic context to emerge. Autonomous people can overcome their dependency on cultural norms and prescriptions by reflecting on social and cultural influences and acting either with or against them. Human autonomy is a universal condition for people to grow, flourish, and be happy.

Keywords

Autonomous Agency Symbolic Representation Autonomy Support Autonomous Motivation Autonomous Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Ali, S. M., & Haq, R. U. (2006). Women’s autonomy and happiness: The case of Pakistan. Pakistan Development Review, 45, 121–136.Google Scholar
  2. Assor, A., Kaplan, H., Kanat-Maymon, Y., & Roth, G. (2005). Directly controlling teacher behaviors as predictors of poor motivation and engagement in girls and boys: The role of anger and anxiety. Learning and Instruction, 15(5), 397–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C., & Baumeister, R. F. (Eds.). (2008). Are we free? Psychology and free will. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bakhtin, M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bargh, J. A. (2008). Free will is un-natural. In J. Baer, J. C. Kaufman, & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Are we free? Psychology and free will (pp. 128–154). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bargh, J. A., & Ferguson, M. J. (2000). Beyond behaviorism: On the automaticity of higher mental processes. Psychological Bulletin, 126(6), 925–945.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monograph, 4, 1–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buber, M. (2002). Between man and man. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Chirkov, V. I., Lebedeva, N., Molodtsova, I., & Tatarko, A. (in press). Social capital, motivational autonomy, and health behavior: A comparative study of Canadian and Russian youth. In D. Chadee & A. Kostic (Eds.), Research in social psychology. Trinidad: University of West Indies Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chirkov, V. I., & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Parent and teacher autonomy-support in Russian and US adolescents: Common effects on well-being and academic motivation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32(5), 618–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chirkov, V. I., Ryan, R. M., Kim, Y., & Kaplan, U. (2003). Differentiating autonomy from individualism and independence: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization of cultural orientations and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 97–110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chirkov, V. I., Ryan, R. M., & Willness, C. (2005). Cultural context and psychological needs in Canada and Brazil: Testing a self-determination approach to internalization of cultural practices, identity and well-being. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(4), 425–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooper, J. M. (2003). Stoic autonomy. In E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller, Jr., & J. Paul (Eds.), Autonomy (pp. 1–29). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. David, N., Newen, A., & Vogeley, K. (2008). The “sense of agency” and its underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 523–534.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de Botton, A. (2004). Status anxiety. Toronto, ON: Penguin.Google Scholar
  16. Deacon, T. W. (1997). The symbolic species: The co-evolution of language and brain. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  17. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination theory of human behavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  18. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, NY: The University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  19. Dennett, D. C. (1986). Elbow room: The varieties of free will worth wanting. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Dennett, D. C. (2003). Freedom evolves. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  21. Devine, J., Camfield, L., & Gough, I. (2008). Autonomy or dependence-or both? Perspectives from Bangladesh. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 105–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Downie, M., Chua, S. N., Koestner, R., Barrios, M.-F., Rip, B., & M’Birkou, S. (2007). The relations of parental autonomy support to cultural internalization and well-being of immigrants and sojourners. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(3), 241–249.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ewing, K. P. (1991). Can psychoanalytic theories explain the Pakistani woman? Intrapsychic autonomy and interpersonal engagement in the extended family. Ethos, 19(2), 131–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Farrer, C., & Frith, C. D. (2002). Experiencing oneself vs another person as being the cause of an action: The neural correlates of the experience of agency. NeuroImage, 15(3), 596–603.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frie, R. (2008). Psychological agency: Theory, practice, and culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fukuyama, F. (2002). Social capital and development: The coming agenda. SAIS Review, 22(1), 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fuster, J. M. (2002). Frontal lobe and cognitive development. Journal of Neurocytology, 31, 373–385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gallagher, S. (2000). Philosophical conceptions of the self: Implications for cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(1), 14–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grolnick, W. S., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (1997). Internalization within the family: The self-determination theory perspective. In J. E. Grusec & L. Kuczynski (Eds.), Parenting and children’s internalization of values (pp. 135–161). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Grootaert, C., & van Bastelaer, T. (2001). Understanding and measuring social capital: A synthesis of findings and recommendations from the Social Capital Initiative. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  31. Grouzet, F. M. E., Otis, N., & Pelletier, L. G. (2006). Longitudinal cross-gender factorial invariance of the Academic Motivation Scale. Structural Equation Modelling, 13(1), 73–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Guyer, P. (2000). Kant on freedom, law, and happiness. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Guyer, P. (2003). Kant on theory and practice of autonomy. In E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller, & J. Paul (Eds.), Autonomy (pp. 70–98). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Habermas, J. (1990). Justice and solidarity: On the discussion concerning stage 6. In T. E. Wren, W. Edelstein, & G. Nunner-Winkler (Eds.), The moral domain: Essays in the ongoing discussion between philosophy and the social sciences (pp. 224–252). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hagger, M. S., Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., Barkoukis, V., Wang, C. K. J., & Baranowski, J. (2005). Perceived autonomy support in physical education and leisure-time physical activity: A cross-cultural evaluation of the trans-contextual model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 376–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hagger, M. S., Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., Hein, V., Pihu, M., Soos, I., & Karsai, I. (2007). The perceived autonomy support scale for exercise settings (PASSES): Development, validity, and cross-cultural invariance in young people. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 8, 632–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hardre, P. L., Chen, C., Huang, S., Chiang, C., Jen, F., & Warden, L. (2006). Factors affecting high school students’ academic motivation in Taiwan. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 26, 198–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hayamizu, T. (1997). Between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Examination of reasons for academic study based on the theory of internalization. Japanese Psychological Research, 37, 98–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Heider, F. (1982/1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  40. Irvine, W. B. (2009). A guide to the good life: The ancient art of Stoic joy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Jang, H., Reeve, J., Ryan, R. M., & Kim, A. (2009). Can self-determination theory explain what underlies the productive, satisfying learning experiences of collectivistically-oriented Korean students? Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 644–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Juarrero, A. (1999). Dynamics in action: Intentional behavior as a complex system. Cambridge, MA: A Bradford Books.Google Scholar
  43. Kagan, J. (2004). The uniquely human in human nature. Daedalus, 133(4), 77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Koechlin, E., Ody, C., & Kouneiher, F. (2003). The architecture of cognitive control in human prefrontal cortex. Science, 302, 1181–1185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kohlberg, L., Boyd, D. R., & Levine, C. G. (1990). The return of stage 6: Its principle and moral point of view. In T. E. Wren (Ed.), The moral domain: Essays in the ongoing discussion between philosophy and the social science (pp. 151–181.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  46. Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Pelletier, L. (2005). Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? Toward an understanding of academic amotivation and the role of social support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3), 567–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Levesque, C., Zuehlke, A. N., Stanek, L. R., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Autonomy and competence in German and American university students: A comparative study based on Self-determination theory. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 68–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lewin, K., & Lippitt, R. (1938). An experimental approach to the study of autocracy and democracy: A preliminary note. Sociometry, 1(3/4), 292–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Libet, B., Freeman, A., & Sutherland, K. (Eds.). (1999). The volitional brain: Towards a neuroscience of free will. Thorverton: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  50. Lukes, S. (1973). Individualism. New York: Harper Row.Google Scholar
  51. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (2003). Models of agency: Sociocultural diversity in the construction of action. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 49, 1–57.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Martin, J. (2008). Perspectival selves and agents: Agency within sociality. In R. Frie (Ed.), Psychological agency: Theory, practice, and culture (pp. 97–116). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  53. Martin, J., Sugerman, J., & Thompson, J. (2003). Psychology and the question of agency. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  54. May, R. (1961). The emergence of existential psychology. In R. May (Ed.), Existential psychology (pp. 11–51). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  55. McCrone, J. (1999). A bifold model of free will. In B. Libet, A. Freeman, & K. Sutherland (Eds.), The volitional brain: Towards a neuroscience of free will (pp. 241–259). Thorverton: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  56. McDonough, R. (1997). The concept of organism and the concept of mind. Theory and Psychology, 7(5), 579–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mele, A. R. (2001). Autonomous agents: From self-control to autonomy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Mele, A. R. (2005). Motivation and agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Miller, J. G. (1999). Cultural conceptions of duty: Implications for motivation and morality. In D. Munroe, J. F. Schumaker, & S. C. Carr (Eds.), Motivation and culture (pp. 178–192). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. Muller, F. H., & Louw, J. (2004). Learning environment, motivation and interest: Perspectives on self-determination theory. South African Journal of Psychology, 34(2), 169–190.Google Scholar
  61. Murphy, N. C., & Brown, W. S. (2007). Did my neurons make me do it? Philosophical and neurobiological perspectives on moral responsibility and free will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Murphy, N. C., & Stoeger, W. R. (2007). Evolution and emergence: Systems, organisms, persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Ntoumanis, N. (2005). A prospective study of participation in optional school physical education using a self-determination theory framework. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 44–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ommundsen, Y., & Kvalo, S. E. (2007). Autonomy-mastery supportive or performance focused? Different teacher behaviours and pupils’ outcomes in physical education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 51(4), 385–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Oshana, M. (2003). How much should we values autonomy? In E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller, & J. Paul (Eds.), Autonomy (pp. 99–126). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Paul, E. F., Miller, F. D., & Paul, J. (Eds.). (2003). Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Pink, T. (1996). The psychology of freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origin and application in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Reeve, J., & Jang, H. (2006). What teachers say and do to support students’ autonomy during a learning activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 209–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Riesman, D., with, Clazer, N., & Denny, R. (2001/1961). The lonely crowd: A study of the changing American character. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Roland, A. (1988). In search of self in India and Japan: Toward a cross-cultural psychology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Roth, G., Assor, A., Kanat-Maymon, Y., & Kaplan, H. (2006). Assessing the experience of autonomy in new cultures and contexts. Motivation & Emotion, 30(4), 361–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Roth, G., Assor, A., Kanat-Maymon, Y., & Kaplan, H. (2007). Autonomous motivation for teaching: How self-determined teaching may lead to self-determined learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(4), 761–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rudy, D., Sheldon, K. M., Awong, T., & Tan, H. H. (2007). Autonomy, culture, and well-being: The benefits of inclusive autonomy. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 983–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ryan, R. M., & Connell, J. P. (1989). Perceived locus of causality and internalization: Examining reasons for acting in two domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 749–761.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000a). The darker and brighter sides of human existence: Basic psychological needs as a unifying concept. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 319–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000b). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2003). On assimilating identities to the self: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization and integrity within cultures. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 253–272). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  79. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2004). Autonomy is no illusion: Self-determination theory and the empirical study of authenticity, awareness, and will. In J. Greenberg, S. L. Koole, & T. Pyszczynski (Eds.), Handbook of experimental existential psychology. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  80. Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L., Grolnick, W. S., & La Guardia, J. G. (2006). The significance of autonomy and autonomy support in psychological development and psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 795–849). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  81. Ryan, R. M., Kuhl, J., & Deci, E. L. (1997). Nature and autonomy: Organizational view of social and neurobiological aspects of self-regulation in behavior and development. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 701–728.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Schwabe, L., & Blanke, O. (2007). Cognitive neuroscience of ownership and agency. Consciousness and Cognition, 16(3), 661–666.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Sheldon, K. M. (2004). Optimal human being: An integrated multi-level perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  85. Shweder, R. A., Much, N. C., Mahapatra, M., & Park, L. (2003). The big three of morality (autonomy, community, and divinity) and the big three explanations of suffering. In R. A. Sweder (Ed.), Why do men barbecue? Recipes for cultural psychology (pp. 74–133). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., Luyckx, K., Goossens, L., Beyers, W., et al. (2007). Conceptualizing parental autonomy support: Adolescent perceptions of promotion of independence versus promotion of volitional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 43(3), 633–646.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Spence, S. A., & Frith, C. D. (1999). Toward a functional anatomy of volition. In B. Libet, A. Freeman, & K. Sutherland (Eds.), The volitional brain: Towards a neuroscience of free will (pp. 11–29). Thorverton: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  88. Sperry, R. M. (1991). In defense of mentalism and emergent interaction. The Journal of Mind & Behavior, 12, 221–245.Google Scholar
  89. Stewart, S. M., Bond, M. H., Ho, L. M., Zaman, R. M., Dar, R., & Anwar, M. (2000). Perceptions of parents and adolescent outcomes in Pakistan. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, 335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Szadejko, K. (2003). Percezione di autonomia, competenza e relazionalità. Adattamento italiano del questionario basic psychological needs scale. Orientamenti Pedagogici, 5, 853–872.Google Scholar
  91. Tanaka, K., & Yamauchi, H. (2000). Influence of autonomy on perceived control beliefs and self-regulated learning in Japanese undergraduate students. North American Journal of Psychology, 2, 255–272.Google Scholar
  92. Taylor, C. (1985). Human agency and language. Philosophical papers (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Taylor, J. S. (Ed.). (2005). Personal autonomy: New essays on personal autonomy and its role in contemporary moral philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  94. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  95. Trouilloud, D., Sarrazin, P., Bressoux, P., & Bois, J. (2006). Relation between teachers’ early expectations and students’ later perceived competence in physical education classes: Autonomy-supportive climate as a moderator. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Uyl, D. D. (2003). Autonomous autonomy: Spinoza on autonomy, perfectionism, and politics. In E. F. Paul, F. D. Miller, & J. Paul (Eds.), Autonomy (pp. 30–69). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Vallerand, R. J., Blais, M. R., Brière, N. M., & Pelletier, L. G. (1989). Construction et validation de l’échelle de motivation en éducation (ÉMÉ) [Construction and validation of the Échelle de Motivation en Éducation – ÉMÉ]. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 21, 323–349.Google Scholar
  98. Vansteenkiste, M., Zhou, M., Lens, W., & Soenens, B. (2005). Experiences of autonomy and control among Chinese learners: Vitalizing or immobilizing? Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 468–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Varela, F. J. (1979). Principles of biological autonomy. New York: North Holland.Google Scholar
  100. Varela, F. J., Thomson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  101. Veenhoven, R. (1999). Quality-of-life in individualistic society. Social Indicators Research, 48(2), 157–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Waller, B. N. (1998). The natural selection of autonomy. Albany, NY: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  103. Wegner, D. M. (2002). The illusion of conscious will. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books, The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  104. Yamauchi, H., & Tanaka, K. (1998). Relations of autonomy, self-referenced beliefs and self-regulated learning among Japanese children. Psychological Reports, 82, 803–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations