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Personal Agency

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Synonyms

Sense of agency

Definition

Personal agency refers to “the sense that I am the one who is causing or generating an action” (Gallagher 2000, p. 15). A person with a sense of personal agency perceives himself/herself as the subject influencing his/her own actions and life circumstances (Bandura 2006; Gallagher 2000).

Introduction

Compared to other animals, humans are better at resisting the influence of external forces and independently generating their own actions. Having been one of the central issues in philosophy for centuries, the personal agency of humans has also become a matter of interest in psychological research.

Properties of Agency

According to social cognitive theory approach, personal agency is comprised of four properties: Intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness (Bandura 2006). The sense of agency requires (1) intentional planning of actions; (2) predicting likely outcomes of actions; (3) regulating own behavior to reach goals; and...

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Correspondence to Sinan Alper .

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Alper, S. (2020). Personal Agency. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1871

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