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ERIC Number: EJ970173
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
Psychological Entropy: A Framework for Understanding Uncertainty-Related Anxiety
Hirsh, Jacob B.; Mar, Raymond A.; Peterson, Jordan B.
Psychological Review, v119 n2 p304-320 Apr 2012
Entropy, a concept derived from thermodynamics and information theory, describes the amount of uncertainty and disorder within a system. Self-organizing systems engage in a continual dialogue with the environment and must adapt themselves to changing circumstances to keep internal entropy at a manageable level. We propose the entropy model of uncertainty (EMU), an integrative theoretical framework that applies the idea of entropy to the human information system to understand uncertainty-related anxiety. Four major tenets of EMU are proposed: (a) Uncertainty poses a critical adaptive challenge for any organism, so individuals are motivated to keep it at a manageable level; (b) uncertainty emerges as a function of the conflict between competing perceptual and behavioral affordances; (c) adopting clear goals and belief structures helps to constrain the experience of uncertainty by reducing the spread of competing affordances; and (d) uncertainty is experienced subjectively as anxiety and is associated with activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and with heightened noradrenaline release. By placing the discussion of uncertainty management, a fundamental biological necessity, within the framework of information theory and self-organizing systems, our model helps to situate key psychological processes within a broader physical, conceptual, and evolutionary context. (Contains 2 footnotes and 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: order@apa.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org/publications
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A