Julian Rotter (born 22 October 1916) is an American psychologist who is known for developing influential theories, including social learning theory and locus of control.
After earning his doctorate from Indiana University, Rotter became an adviser to the United States Army during World War II. In the Army, Rotter worked as a psychologist, except for 17 weeks in officer candidate training as a tank officer. He then went to Ohio State University, where he taught and served as the chairman of the clinical psychology program. At Ohio State, Rotter was influenced by George Kelly. Rotter then went to the University of Connecticut, where he remained for his career.
Rotter's seminal work, Social Learning and Clinical Psychology was published in 1954. In 1963, he became the Program Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Rotter also served as Chairman of the Division of Social Psychology and Personality in the American Psychological Association. He also served terms as the president of the APA division of social and personality psychology, the APA division of clinical psychology, and the Eastern Psychological Association.
Rotter has been reported as one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. He was 18th in frequency of citations in journal articles and 64th in overall eminence. His seminal studies of the variable of internal versus external locus of control provided the foundation of prolific research on choice and perceived control in several disciplines. His pioneer social learning framework transformed behavioral approaches to personality and clinical psychology.