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Clarifying problems in behavioural control: Interface, lateness and consciousness



The target paper highlights a number of unresolved issues that, I believe, continue to impede the construction of a viable model of behavioural control in personality psychology; namely, (a) the relationship between controlled and automatic processing (the ‘interface’ problem') and (b) the time it takes for controlled processes, including consciousness, to be generated (the ‘lateness’ problem). The diversity of views expressed in the commentatories indicates that these are, indeed, real and unresolved problems. This response is structured around the following key questions. (1) How long-term goal planning interfaces with the automatic machinery of behaviour? (2) The extent of the impact of the ‘lateness’ of controlled (including conscious) processes for building models of behavioural control? (3) How best to characterise the personality traits associated with the FFFS, BIS and BAS? (4) How does the BIS control mismatch detection, the generation of error signals, and response inhibition and switching? (5) Is consciousness really a necessary explanatory construct in models of behavioural control? (6) Might neural ‘crosstalk’ of encapsulated action-goal response systems point to the functional significance of consciousness? (7) What are the implications of issues raised in the target paper for lexical and social-cognitive approaches to personality? I conclude by re-iterating the importance of the problems of ‘lateness’ and ‘interface’ for the construction of a viable model of behavioural control sufficient for the fostering of theoretical integration within personality psychology as well as affording the building of conceptual bridges with general psychology. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.