September 4, 2014

Internal Control – External Control: A Sampler

By Margaret Rappaport

Julian B. Rotter is the developer of a forced-choice 20 item scale for measuring an individual’s degree if internal control and external control. This I – E test is widely used. The following are sample items taken from an earlier version of the test, but not, of course, in use in the final version. The reader can readily find for himself/herself whether he/she is inclined toward internal control or toward external control, simply by adding up the choices he makes on each side.


I more strongly believe that: OR
1a) Promotions are earned through hard work and persistence b) Making a lot of money is largely a matter of getting the right breaks
2a) In my experience I have noticed that there is usually a direct connection between how hard I work and the results I get b) Many times the reactions of others seem haphazard to me
3a) The number of divorces indicates that more and more people are not trying to make their marriages work b) Marriage is largely a gamble
4a) When I am right I can convince others b) It is silly to think that one can change another person’s basic attitudes
5a) In our society a person’s future earning power is dependent upon ability b) Getting promoted is really a matter of being a little luckier than the next guy
6a) If one knows how to deal with people, they are easily led b) I have little influence over the way other people behave
7a) In my case the rewards I get are the results of my efforts b) Sometimes I feel my efforts don’t matter
8a) People like me can change the course of events if we speak out b) Wishful thinking makes people think they can influence society
9a) I am the master of my fate b) What happens to me is a matter of chance
10a) Getting along with people has to be practiced b) It is almost impossible to figure out how to please some people
11a) Getting involved in political and social movements is good b) Ordinary people are powerless to make their convictions felt
12a) Through determination and will power, people can change b) Early experiences determine us and attempts to change will fail
13a) Most auto accidents are the result of careless driving b) Weather conditions and poorly made vehicles causes most accidents
14a) People who commit crimes are usually the products of poverty and emotional deprivation b) People become criminals because they would rather profit at the expense of others rather than work
15a) Friendships are founded on “chemistry”, if it is wrong you  can’t make it right b) When I behave in a friendly and   interested way, people will probably like me
16a) Most people would like to support themselves but are unable to do so sometimes b) Dependent people are often sick or lazy and cannot or won’t  work
17a) I believe that I can achieve my goals if I clearly define them and direct my energy toward achieving them  b) It is best to resign yourself to the fact that the future is largely determined by the circumstances into which you were born
18a) Passing from childhood to old age is like travelling in a canoe without a paddle; one can only hold tightly to the sides and hope not to be dashed against rocks   b) I feel that my life is like a sailing vessel, and I am its Captain firmly in command at the helm
19a) Inequality has existed for all of history so we must accept it as inevitable and part of the human condition b) Inequality can be overcome through the concerted efforts of political groups and governments
20a) Certain people are “meant” for each other, if they are lucky enough to encounter one another b) An enduring relationship between two individuals is largely the result of empathy, consideration, commitment