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The term self-regulation generally describes processes in which a system adapts its function itself. This can be done to maintain a function or to adapt the system to new conditions.

In contrast to control , the term regulation describes adaptive systems that adapt to changed framework conditions through feedback and can achieve their (self-set) goal despite so-called disruptions (target-actual deviations).

Market economy

According to some proponents of liberal economic theory, the economy regulates itself via market forces for general benefit, with the freedom of consumers and producers being necessary conditions. The generalized notion of the invisible hand has sometimes been used to describe this ability to regulate, incorrectly referring to Adam Smith as the originator. Contrary to this assumption, this understanding of the market as general coordinator was first made known by Paul Samuelson in 1948.

Biology and medicine

The basic idea of ​​self-regulation comes from biology and is considered a fundamental functional principle of living organisms . For example, it takes place continuously in the physiology of the human and animal body, mostly when static conditions change and goes unnoticed by us. Examples are:

  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate when changing from lying to standing position
  • Increased breathing during physical exertion in order to supply the body with more oxygen
  • In hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) of the body is drastic self-regulation mechanisms in force (eg. As secretion of adrenaline , with the result of jitter, and excessive sweating) to the glucose maintain concentration and an impending hypoglycemic shock to prevent.

In medicine, one often speaks of autoregulation . This mostly affects more local feedback mechanisms. The blood flow to organs in particular is often heavily dependent on self-regulating processes.


The common denominator of models of self-regulation in psychology is that people are able to control their own behavior with regard to self-set goals.


Self-regulation is a term that played a central role in 1970s pedagogy. The concept included that children develop into socially acceptable individuals without significant influence from their parents. Parents are only responsible when it comes to protecting the child. On the other hand, authority, which takes care of upbringing, is no longer important or undesirable, since children develop freely and independently into individuals or find out for themselves how to find their way around the world. Social rules are also formulated in group processes and without the influence of the educator. The educator should or must not appear more than the one who controls the educational processes and sets the goals.

Examples of this form of education were some “ children's shops ”. Children's shops were facilities in which children were sometimes looked after from infancy up to and including schooling. They were often organized by parents who developed the education concepts together with the employed educators and who also worked regularly.

See also


  • Roy F. Baumeister, Kathleen D. Vohs (Eds.): Handbook of self-regulation, research, theory and applications. Guilford Publications, New York 2004, ISBN 1-57230-991-1 .
  • Joseph P. Forgas et al. (Ed.): Psychology of Self-Regulation. Psychology Press, New York 2009, ISBN 978-1-84872-842-4 .
  • Rick H. Hoyle (Ed.): Handbook of Personality and Self-Regulation. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Mass. 2010, ISBN 978-1-4051-7712-2 .
  • Jörg Martin , Jörg Hardy, Stephan Cartier (Hrsg.): Welt im Fluss. Case studies on the homeostasis model. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-08980-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Synopsis of various articles from: Rick H. Hoyle (Ed.): Handbook of Personality and Self-Regulation. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  2. ^ Gerhard Mussel, Jürgen Pätzold: Basic questions of economic policy . Vahlen, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8006-4374-5 ( [accessed December 29, 2019]).
  3. Stephan Schulmeister: The way to prosperity , Ecowin, Munich 2018. P. 50.
  4. Self-regulation in DORSCH Lexicon of Psychology
  5. Gerhard Bott : Education for Disobedience (film, 1969), Terror from the children's shop (film, 1972)
  6. Alexander Sutherland Neill : Theory and Practice of Anti-Authoritarian Education. (= rororo 6707). Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-499-16707-7 .