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Control Motivation and Attitude Change

  • Thane S. Pittman

Abstract

One of the fundamental characteristics of human nature is the ability to learn how to predict and to influence events. That is perhaps the most basic message of the research on human learning. Given this rather sophisticated capacity to learn how to understand and influence events, a number of theorists have gone the next step by suggesting that the ability to understand and to exert control is more than just a capability, it is a need (Pittman & Heller, 1987). Positive examples of this desire to exert control over one’s environment lie in the work on effectance (White, 1959), curiosity (Berlyne, 1960), and in the notion of optimal levels of stimulation (Hunt, 1965). Evidence that deprivation of the ability to control outcomes can have negative consequences is perhaps best represented by the recent research on learned helplessness (e.g., Seligman, 1975; see Brehm, Chapter 1, and Kofta, Chapter 5, this volume).

Keywords

Control Motivation Negative Mood Target Person Experimental Social Psychology Message Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

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  • Thane S. Pittman

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