Summary : Control deprivation and information processing : A critical evaluation of the control motivation hypothesis and propositions for alternative interpretations. Control motivation theory is considered as the dominant explanation for the effects of control deprivation on subsequent social information processing. According to this position, control deprivation heightens a fundamental motivation to restore control that results in a more careful processing of incoming information. In this article, a critical analysis of this position is presented. It is argued that the available experimental data do not clearly support control motivation theory. Moreover, this position cannotfully explain some results found in this research area. Four alternative explanations based on the reactance-learned helplessness integration are proposed. According to these theoretical proposais, the effects of control deprivation on subsequent information processing vary depending on the amount of control deprivation experienced and on the difficulty ofthe task. It is argued that these propositions are consistent both with the results found in control deprivation research and with findings in other areas (such as social power and depressives' social perception) in which control deprivation is hypothesized to be an important factor. Key words : control deprivation, information processing, control motivation.