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Bandura and Rotter have both examined the role of expectancy. Bandura has suggested that high efficacy-expectations for a particular problem-solving behavior would correspond with greater persistence on similar tasks and lower efficacy-expectations would correspond with less persistence. Consistent with Rotter's locus of control construct, persistence on a problem-solving task should relate to “internality” whereas lack of persistence should be related to “externality”.

Forty subjects were administered the I-F Scale and randomly assigned to four groups. The group conditions, Relevant Failure, Irrelevant Failure, Relevant Success and Irrelevant Success, were used to differentially manipulate subjects' efficacy-expectations. Subjects from the two failure groups were given low performance feedback over a series of anagrams, and subjects from the two success groups were given high performance feedback. The subjects in the relevant condition were instructed that their performance reflected intellectual functioning. Those subjects in the irrelevant groups were told that their performance depended on how much practice they had with similar problems in the past. Following the expectancy manipulations, each subject was given a similar, but insolvable anagram task.

High and significant negative correlations were obtained between I-B Scale scores and persistence, while there was a low and insignificant correlation between efficacy-expectations and persistence. In addition, there were no significant differences between groups on the persistence measure. It was concluded that beliefs in locus of control are strongly related to persistence in problem-solving behavior and that efficacy-expectations do not play a significant role.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1980-01-01

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