Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement: A Case History of a Variable

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In this article the construct of generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement is used as a model to present a brief on the importance of broad theory and training in theory construction and evaluation in psychology. Specifically, the extraordinary heuristic value of this construct is attributed to four characteristics: the nature of the definition, the careful imbedding of the construct in a theoretical context, the use of a broad behavior theory in construction of a measure of individual differences, and the programmatic nature of the original research as well as the format of the early publications. Reevaluation of the characteristic criteria for publication of research studies and for the evaluation of promotion or advancement for psychologists involved in research activities is also discussed.

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