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Locus Of Control Theory Pdf Download |LINK|


"Locus of Control." For many people, their only exposure to the ideas of Julian B. Rotter is his concept of generalized expectancies for control of reinforcement, more commonly known as locus of control. Locus of control refers to people's very general, cross-situational beliefs about what determines whether or not they get reinforced in life. People can be classified along a continuum from very internal to very external.




Locus Of Control Theory Pdf Download



People with a strong internal locus of control believe that the responsibility for whether or not they get reinforced ultimately lies with themselves. Internals believe that success or failure is due to their own efforts. In contrast, externals believe that the reinforcers in life are controlled by luck, chance, or powerful others. Therefore, they see little impact of their own efforts on the amount of reinforcement they receive.


Rotter has written extensively on problems with people's interpretations of the locus of control concept. First, he has warned people that locus of control is not a typology. It represents a continuum, not an either/or proposition. Second, because locus of control is a generalized expectancy it will predict people's behavior across situations. However, there may be some specific situations in which people who, for example, are generally external behave like internals. That is because their learning history has shown them that they have control over the reinforcement they receive in certain situations, although overall they perceive little control over what happens to them. Again, one can see the importance of conceiving of personality as the interaction of the person and the environment.


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  • Rotter, J. B. (1954). Social learning and clinical psychology. New York: Prentice-Hall.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1960). Some implications of a social learning theory for the prediction of goal directed behavior from testing procedures. Psychological Review, 67, 301-316.

  • Rotter, J. B., Liverant, S., & Crowne, D. P. (1961). The growth and extinction of expectancies in chance controlled and skilled tasks. Journal of Psychology, 52, 161-177.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80. (Whole No. 609).

  • Rotter, J. B. (1969, June). A social learning approach to community mental health. In Symposium on youth: their values, goals and career concepts [third report]. Rensselaerville, NY. (ERIC No. ED036828) download a PDF .

  • Rotter, J. B. (1970). Some implications of a social learning theory for the practice of psychotherapy. In D. Levis (Ed.), Learning approaches to therapeutic behavior change (pp. 208-241). Chicago: Aldine.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1971). Generalized expectancies for interpersonal trust. American Psychologist, 26, 443-452.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1971). On the evaluation of methods of intervening in other people's lives. Clinical Psychologist, 24, 1.

  • Rotter, J. B., Chance, J. E., & Phares, E. J. (1972). Applications of a social learning theory of personality. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1975). Some problems and misconceptions related to the construct of internal versus external control of reinforcement. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 56-67.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1978). Generalized expectancies for problem solving and psychotherapy. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 2, 1-10.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1980). Interpersonal trust, trustworthiness and gullibility. American Psychologist, 26, 1-7.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1981). The psychological situation in social learning theory. In D. Magnusson (Ed.), Toward a psychology of situations: An interactional perspective (pp. 169-178). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1982). The development and applications of social learning theory. New York: Praeger.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1989). Internal versus external control of reinforcement: A case history of a variable. American Psychologist, 45, 489-493.

  • Rotter, J. B., Lah, M. I., & Rafferty, J. E. (1992). Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank Second Edition manual. New York: Psychological Corporation.

  • Rotter, J. B. (1992). Some comments on the "cognates of personal control." Applied & Preventive Psychology, 1, 127-129.


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