Between Success and Failure: Assessment of Aspirations and Risk (CD Included)

Roland Paulauskas, Ph.D.
Senior Mental Health Advisor, Corrections System Support Program, Arlington, VA
Siauliai University in Siauliai, Lithuania

Series: Psychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions
BISAC: PSY013000



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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In this book, Roland Paulauskas presents the analysis of motivational and behavioral economic theories of the level of aspirations and risk taking behavior. The author proposes a dynamic/multiple reference point decision making model that distinguishes three qualitative phases of the choosing process in the level of aspirations situations. Contrary to some of the behavioral economic theories, he suggests that decision making strategy in most cases is determined by the leverage of rationality and emotionality during the appraisal phase of the decision making process. Predominance of cognitive mechanisms determines whether the chooser will utilize heuristic or risk aversive strategies, whereas prevalence of emotional reactions tends to sway the decision maker towards inconsistent or risk seeking approaches. To support his hypothesis, Paulauskas developed and utilized a computerized test entitled the Standardized Assessment of the Level of Aspirations. CD with the test is included in the publication. (Nova)




Chapter 1. The Origins of the Concept of the Level of Aspirations (pp. 1-18)

Chapter 2. Transition to the Paradigm of Achievement Motivation (pp. 19-28)

Chapter 3. Beyond the Paradigm of Achievement Motivation: Causal Attribution, Self-Efficacy and Goal-Setting Theories (pp. 29-42)

Chapter 4. Aspirations and Risk Taking Behavior (pp. 43-60)

Chapter 5. Integrating the Level of Aspirations and Decision under Risk Theories (pp. 61-70)

Chapter 6. The Description of the Standardized Assessment of the Level of Aspirations (SALA) (pp. 71-74)

Chapter 7. Testing Procedure Instructions (pp. 75-100)

Chapter 8. Administration and Scoring of the SALA (pp. 101-104)

Chapter 9. The SALA Indicators (pp. 105-108)

Chapter 10. Findings and their Interpretation (pp. 109-118)

Chapter 11. Reliability and Validity of the SALA (pp. 119-122)

Chapter 12. Case Vignettes (pp. 123-136)

Summary (pp. 137-144)

References (pp. 145-156)

About the Author (pp. 157-158)

Index (pp. 159)

"Dealing with the questions: “How do people make decisions when they want to reach a certain goal” and “what is the relationship between aspirations and risk taking behavior”, Roland Paulauskas firstly guides the reader through a greatly historically situated presentation on the levels of aspiration, the paradigm of achievement motivation, and causal attributions, self-efficacy, goal-setting and risk taking theories. While strongly, theoretically and empirically upheld and with an ecological validity reflected in the amount of examples provided, he presents complex concepts in a very simple, easy-to-read way.

Posteriorly, the author presents an integrative approach to explain the process of decision-making under uncertainty (concerning the levels of aspiration) by proposing the dynamic/multiple-reference point decision-making model in situations guided by said levels of aspiration. This is a sequential model that, although supported in previous theoretical approaches, stresses the psychological mechanisms underlying decision-making, namely addressing the role of emotions in the process.

Paulauskas conceived a very elegant standardized assessment tool to measure the levels of aspiration (SALA). This is a very economic instrument in terms of the participants’ point of view and the psychometric benefits of the setting, procedure and materials required. SALA is very well documented in the manual, making it easy to apply to situations regarding levels of aspiration. Given the tool features, it could be applied not only in several assessment and research contexts, but also to people of different cultural groups. The application of the instrument allows for the identification of four different strategies of decision-making, which are consequently documented in the chapters presented.
Paula Sismeiro Pereira, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal

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Audience: Practicing psychologists; college and university faculty; researchers in the area of cognition, motivation and behavior; vocational psychology; sports psychology; as well as graduate and undergraduate psychology students.

Keywords: Level of aspirations, decision making under uncertainty or risk, causal attribution, self-efficacy

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