Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Personal Agency

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1871



Personal agency refers to “the sense that I am the one who is causing or generating an action” (Gallagher 2000, p. 15). A person with a sense of personal agency perceives himself/herself as the subject influencing his/her own actions and life circumstances (Bandura 2006; Gallagher 2000).


Compared to other animals, humans are better at resisting the influence of external forces and independently generating their own actions. Having been one of the central issues in philosophy for centuries, the personal agency of humans has also become a matter of interest in psychological research.

Properties of Agency

According to social cognitive theory approach, personal agency is comprised of four properties: Intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness (Bandura 2006). The sense of agency requires (1) intentional planning of actions; (2) predicting likely outcomes of actions; (3) regulating own behavior to reach goals; and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYasar UniversityIzmirTurkey
  2. 2.Baskent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversität zu LübeckLübeckGermany