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The Option-Generation Framework

A third theory that deals with the relation between knowledge and action is the option-generation framework by Kalis et al. (2008). Studying the weakness of will (a phenomenon known as acrasia), these researchers concentrated on option generation, a little-understood process that precedes option selection and action initiation.

Figure 6.3 illustrates the idealized process of option generation, option selection, and action initiation and gives the background of the ideas that Kalis et al. (2008) have about degenerative processes in this area. Table 6.1 affords an overview of the ways in which dysfunctions in option generation can result in irrational behavior. The table presents two dimensions—dysfunction in the quantity of options (hypo- generation and hypergeneration) and dysfunction in the quality of options. The two rows separate instrumental irrationality from noninstrumental irrationality, meaning that options can be seen either as a means to realize certain goals (i.e., the instrumental understanding) or as irrationality in the goals themselves (i.e., noninstrumental irrationality). This concept links knowledge and action in a special way: It makes a connection between options and actions.

Stages of decision making in our model. (Kalis et al., 2008, p. 403) (Copyright 2008 by Springer Science + Business Media. With permission of Springer)

Fig. 6.3 Stages of decision making in our model. (Kalis et al., 2008, p. 403) (Copyright 2008 by Springer Science + Business Media. With permission of Springer)

Table 6.1 Six types of irrational behavior

Dysfunction in quantity of options

Dysfunction in quality of options

Irrationality

Hypogeneration

Hypergeneration

Instrumental

(1) Absence of options leads to leads to reduced effectiveness in attaining one’s goals.

(2) An increase in the number of options leads to problems in selection and initiation.

(3) Options are inadequate means to one’s goals.

Noninstrumental

(4) Absence of goals leads to a reduction in one’s options.

(5) An increase in the number of goals leads to defocused option generation.

(6) Options are means to goals that are themselves irrational.

Based on Kalis et al. (2008, pp. 407-411)

This walk through the three theories on the connection between knowledge and action gives an understanding of current approaches to that area of inquiry. In this chapter’s final section I bring to this subject empirical evidence from my own research area, problem-solving.

 
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