Locus of control of reinforcement and responsiveness to social influence1


  • 1

    The author wishes to thank John W Donahoe and William Marziani for their comments on the initial manuscript


In this study, the “control of reinforcement” dimension was used to generate differential predictions about subject responsiveness to subtle social influence and experimenter effectiveness in producing change in verbal behavior As predicted, “external” control subjects, selectively reinforced in a sentence construction task, evidenced significantly greater performance gains than “internal” subjects When reports of awareness were used to further subdivide subjects, it was found that aware externals accounted for the conditioning effect whereas aware internals, unaware subjects, and controls were comparable and showed essentially no change in performance These differences were interpreted as being due to the internal's resistiveness to subtle forms of influence. The anticipated experimenter effect was nonsignificant Consideration of the control of reinforcement dimension as an important determinant of responsiveness to social influence in certain situations was emphasized