Judgmental Process

Self-observation alone does not provide a sufficient basis for regulating behavior. We must also evaluate our performance. Tins second process Judgmental process, helps us regulate our behavior through the process of cognitive mediation. We are capable not only of reflective self-awareness but also of judghtg the worth of our actions on the basis of goals we have set for ourselves. More specifically, the judgmental process depends on personal standards, referential performances, valuation of activity, and performance attribution.

Personal standards allow us to evaluate our performances without comparing them to the conduct of others. To a profoundly handicapped 10-year-old child the act of tying his shoelaces may be highly prized. He need not devalue his accomplishment shnply because other children can perform this same act at a younger age.

Personal standards, however, are a limited source of evaluation. For most of our activities, we evaluate our performances by comparing them to a standard of reference. Students compare their test scores to those of then classmates, and tennis players judge their personal skills agamst those of other players. In addition, we use our own previous levels of accomplishment as a reference for evaluating present performance: "Has my singing voice unproved over the years?" "Is my teaching ability better now than ever?" Also, we may judge our performance by comparing it to that of a single individual—a brother, sister, parent, or even a hated rival—or we can compare it to a standard norm such as par in golf or a perfect score in bowling.

Besides personal and reference standards, the judgmental process is also dependent on the overall value we place on an activity. If we place minor value on our ability to wash dishes or dust furniture, then we will spend little thne or effort in trying to improve these abilities. On the other hand if we place high value on getting ahead hi the bushiess world or attaining a professional or graduate degree, then we will expend much effort to achieve success hi these areas.

Finally, self-regulation also depends on how we judge the causes of our behavior, that is, performance attribution. If we believe that our success is due to our own efforts, we will take pride in our accomplishments and tend to work harder to attain our goals. However, if we attribute our performance to external factors, we will not derive as much self-satisfaction and will probably not put forth strenuous effort to attain our goals. Conversely, if we believe that we are responsible for our own failures or hiadequate performance, we will work more readily toward self-regulation than if we are convinced that our shortcomings and our fears are due to factors beyond our control (Bandura, 1986, 1996).

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