A functional-contextualist account of locus of control: Generalized control expectancies as derived relational responding


Carmelo Visdómine-Lozano


Traditional definitions state that locus of control determines behavior via automatic properties of generalized control. Mainstream psychology suggests that generalized control is an intrinsic feature of locus of control as it is a socio-cognitive variable of personality. This theoretical paper briefly reviews Rotter's original definition, and then develops an alternative contextualist proposal from Relational Frame Theory (RFT). RFT serves to reformulate the concept of social cognition, as well as to provide an approach to generalized control expectancies as an instance of derived relational responding. A review of three recent experimental studies endorsing this proposal shows its viability. This analysis leads to evidence of the involvement of specific relational frames like CAUSAL and I-OTHERS in control expectancies, as well as other arbitrary relational networks in the transfer/generalization of new expectancies upon novel stimuli and situations.

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