Talk:Locus of control

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"high internal" and "low external"[edit]

I don't know anything about this subject, but the introduction contrasting "high internal" and "low external" makes no sense to me. Is "high" redundant with "internal", or does it also make sense to talk about a "low internal" or "high external" locus of control? Either way, contrasted "high internal" with "low external" strikes me all illogical.

I can't find any use of high/low this way in the body of the article to clarify it. I suggest either "high" and "low" be removed from the intro, or "low" be changed to "high" in the intro. But I'll leave it to someone who knows something about the subject. Sandro Hawke (talk) 23:22, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

holy crap[edit]

Dude, one thing this article could definitely use is some kind of introductory paragraph. I came upon this and had no bloody idea what it was talking about. (talk) 05:07, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

There is still a lot of work to do[edit]

I say that there is still a lot of work to do on this before it really fits into Wikipedia. I beg that people who edit this article will at least have read references, such as Lefcourt's (1966) paper in Psychological Bulletin, the Rotter paper referred to below or Lefcourt, H. (1976). Locus of Control Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, or the more recent book on attributional style edited by Buchanan and Seligman. I hope to write out these references in full in the very near future. ACEOREVIVED 20:26, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I am in the process of adding some reference, and beg that those who wish to edit this site wait until they have read at least some of these. ACEOREVIVED 19:37, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Wasn't locus of control developed in the 60s instead of the 50s? The first publication being:

Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 80, whole issue.

Actually, this was NOT, contrary to popular misconceptions, the first reference. I shall be adding to this rather third-rate article.


It is articles such as this (in its current form) that give Wikipedia a bad name. I teach psychology at a university in the United Kingdom (I shall not reveal which one)and have three degrees in the subject. This article is one which I would NOT want my students to use in its current form, it is so limited. I shall be tidying up this article to make it more accurate, and eventually adding reference to Kenneth Wallston's work on locus of control in the health domain. ACEOREVIVED 20:47, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

PRO TIP--- No University or Instructor would accept anything from wiki as a reliable source and i dont believe you teach anything or work at a university. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Remember to assume good faith. People, including university students, do use Wikipedia as a source of information, and it is perfectly reasonable for professors and other people to want this information to be accurate. Cosmic Latte (talk) 12:29, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

As I do teach at a university, I am able to make edits on my university's website, including advice to my students about using Wikipedia (since this has a high Google search, it is right and proper to do this). One thing I have argued in giving advice to my students about separation of wheat and chaff in Wikipedia is that edits from signed users are less likely to be vandalism or unreliable edits than those by editors who merely have an IP number, such as ACEOREVIVED (talk) 23:30, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

The article is grammatically poor (the plural of locus is loci), incorrectly uses terminology (says that people *are* internal/external loci, when instead it should be that they *have* internal/external loci), doesn't cite it's sources (source that women tend to have external loci more than men?), and needs major paragraph reformatting. Tarayani 02:47, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Certainly needed attention[edit]

I was relieved that this had been put in the "articles needing attention from psychology experts" category, and I have removed the innacurate stuff about attribution theory (such as the nonsense saying that this, developed by Heider, was developed by Rotter). I have replaced it with material on attributional style, and may enlarge this section and tidy up this entire rather weak article when I have more time. ACEOREVIVED 20:51, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree it needs attention; it was attrocious. I try to get to them when I have time. I am glad to see someone taking an interest in improving these. --DanielCD 23:40, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you DanielCD, I have added a bit tonight (February 25 2007). My main plea is that those who work on this will have read at least some of the references that now appear at the end of the paper. A good paper for people to read is Furnham, A. & Steele, H. (1993). Measures of locus of control: A critique of children's, health and work-related questionnaires which appeared in British Journal of Psychology, 84, 443-479.ACEOREVIVED 20:44, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I hope readers will notice improvements[edit]

I hope that people notice improvements, given that I have now worked quite hard editing this article, putting in more information about scales to measure locus of control, history of the concept and applications of locus of control theory. I still feel, however, that the section on health locus of control could be expanded. I wonder whether the section on attributional style should go in a separate article? ACEOREVIVED 20:11, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I think the attributional style material fits well here for now, unless you have a lot of additional material you would like to use to make another article.
I did some copyediting. Some of the sentences run-on a bit, but I figured you were still in process with your editing so I left most of them alone. If you would like, check my edits to make sure I didn't change anything essential. --DanielCD 19:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Empirical section on health locus needed[edit]

I think that this article could benefit from attention from a health psychologist, who might be able to cite some empirical data in relation to whether internal health locus correlates positively with favourable health outcomes. Also, I shall appreciate any one who could give any further advice on the familial origins of locus of control, providing more up-to-data than that cited in this article. ACEOREVIVED 21:45, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

This would be OR. The views of experts on this topic can be from from their published work, both popular and scientific. They might instead want to come here to suggest additional sources, as the article seems to say that there is no dissenting opionion--or at least so I gather from the uniform POV. .DGG 01:25, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

What work is now needed to remove the tags?[edit]

Having edited this article quite extensively, I think it might sound pretentious if I were to suggest that it can now be removed from the category "Pages needing expert attention from Psychology experts" and also lose the "clean-up" tag. Indeed, I still think that the section on applications needs more depth and detail, and that there needs to be a wider indication of more up-to-date literature on familial origins of locus of control orientations. Then again, the section on characteristics of internals and externals, which appear near the end of the article, could do with more source citation, and it would be good if this article could have something of a conclusion. So, my recommendation would be that we work on these goals before these tags are removed. What do others think? ACEOREVIVED 19:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent Vandalism?[edit]

Apparently a disgruntly college student was displeased by the information in the beginning of the wiki. They added many citation needed references, which is completely out-of-line considering that it was used for every sentence. This extremely strict use of the citation needed reference does not appear anywhere else in the article.

This is what the article appeared as before I had fixed it:

As an example, college students with strong internal locus of control believe that their grades are determined by their abilities and efforts.[citation needed] These students believe, "The more I study, the better grades I get."[citation needed] They change their study strategies as they discover their deficiencies.[citation needed] They raise their expectations if they succeed, and they worry when they think they have no control over their assignments.[citation needed]

In contrast, college students with strong external locus of control believe that their grades are the result of good or bad luck, and hence, are less likely to work hard for high grades.[citation needed] This has obvious implications for differences between internals and externals in terms of achievement motivation.[citation needed] Due to their locating control outside themselves, they tend to feel they have less control over their fate.[citation needed] People with an external locus of control tend to be more stressed and prone to depression.[citation needed]

If this person wishes to improve the article they need to provide references instead of spamming it. I have fixed the vandalism. Megapaw 03:40, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I see but another example at the start, an uncited bias favoring the internal:

" Those with a high internal locus of control exhibit better control of their behavior[citation needed], tend to be more politically involved[citation needed] and are more likely to attempt to influence others than are those with an external locus of control.[citation needed] They also assign greater likelihood to their efforts being successful, and more actively seek information concerning their situation.[citation needed] "

Should I remove ghis? As it is uncited and has a bias, later disproved in the article. (anonymous user) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 20 November 2012 (UTC)


I think the intro should be toned down a bit as far as techinical language. It needs to be (I hate to say 'dumbed down') but it needs to be more simple and definitional. It doesn't seem to really give a solid definition, and as you read you go into the article still a bit confused. I'll try to look at it as I have time, but I'm no expert either. I think this is a rather simple concept and the article might be improved with simpler language and shorter sentences. --DanielCD 22:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I changed the intro a bit, moving the historical material below the definitional. I also changed the word 'theory' to 'concept', as I think it's more appropriate. Feel free to change it back if anyone disagrees. --DanielCD 22:44, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Since 1970, Rotter's assumption of unidimensionality has been challenged, with Levenson, for example, arguing that different dimensions of locus of control, such as belief that events in one's life are self-determined, are organized by powerful others and are due chance-based, must be separated. Weiner's early work in the 1970s, suggested that, more-or-less orthogonal to the internality-externality dimension, we should also consider differences between those who attribute (life events?) to stable causes, and those who attribute to unstable causes.
This is a bit confusing. I bold typed some parts. Many are not going to know what 'orthogonal' means, and I am wondering if the 'life events' is correct (I didn't add it), but it needs some kind of clarification. I could probably figure out the 'must be separated', but I'd probably need to diagram the sentence first.
I'm just hoping these suggestions can help improve this piece. --DanielCD 22:51, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Importance rating[edit]

I was just wondering where this article should stand in the "importance ratings" that append some psychology articles. Could I propose mid-range? Unlike, for example, intelligence, it is not a wide enough concept to go in the category of Top-intelligence articles, and unlike schizophrenia, may not quite make it to high-importance, but I do think that locus of control is an important enough topic in personality psychology to make it to mid-range importance. ACEOREVIVED 18:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Improving section on health locus[edit]

I have found a good source for health locus of control as follows:

Norman, P. & Bennett, P. (1995). Health Locus of Control. In Conner, M. & Norman, P. (Eds). Predicting Health Behaviour. Buckingham: Open University Press. Chapter Three, pp62-94

I shall add a bit more information based on this source, and I advise that people who wish to update this paper also read this source. ACEOREVIVED 19:25, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Agenda now for clean-up[edit]

Well, I hope that it will not be too long before this article can lose tags about needing expert attention from some one who knows about psychology or needing a clean-up. However, there are several points: 1. I have made extensive addition to the section on applications, largely based on Norman, P. & Bennett, P. (1995). Health Locus of Control. In Conner, M. & Norman, P. (Eds). Predicting Health Behaviour. Buckingham: Open University Press. Chapter Three, pp62-94. I wonder whether I may have added too much detail here - for examaple, I have cited several studies which I have not read myself, merely read about in this source (hence they are missing from the end list of references) and wondered whether any one would prefer I did not do this. Also, the applications section now appears dominated by literature on health psychology, so I would like this section to be a little more comprehensive. 2. The section on familial origins needs extension. 3. The references were not all in alphabetical order - I tried to tidy them up tonight (Friday April 20, 2007). 4. I do not like the way this article ends. I think it needs a more general conclusion.

If there is one thing, ABOVE ALL ELSE, which needs to be prioritised now, I would say it is attention from an expert on developmental psychology to give attention to the development of locus of control orientation. ACEOREVIVED 19:44, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Tonight, April 21 2007, I added a final paragraph which I felt gave this article a less abrupt conclusion. Readers may wish to comment on how successfully this final paragraph now summarizes the piece. ACEOREVIVED 20:35, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Fixing wiki-links and extending applications[edit]

I corrected the two dead wiki-links, to N-Ach and to industrial and organizational psychology which were formerly using different terms for these concepts. I have also extended the applications part by adding some information which I read in the Maltby et al. (2007) text that I have now added to the reference list. I hope that people will applaud my adding the reference to the study of depression that is cited in this text, so that the "citation needed" tag could be removed from the beginning of the article. ACEOREVIVED 19:30, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Cross-cultural psychological issues need attention[edit]

I still think that this article could benefit from greater awareness of how locus of control orientation might vary across cultures. I have a textbook entitled "Cross-cultural Psychology" by Shiravey and Levy that says something on this issue, but this book makes some rather contradictory claims on this issue. When I have done more research into this issue, I may add more to this article. I still think that the applications section needs to better balanced. ACEOREVIVED 19:30, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

The book is Shiraev,E. & Levy, D. (2004). Cross-cultural Psychology. Boston: Pearson Education. ISBN: 0-205-38612-1. This book claims on p279 that individuals from Western cultures are more internal than those from other cultures, yet on p280 asks "Why has cross-cultural research found little or no difference in locus of control among cultures?" (Shiraev & Levy, p280). ACEOREVIVED 20:32, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Section on attributional style needs to mention hopelessness theory[edit]

The section on attributional style would be more up-to-date if it mentioned the hopelessness model of Alloy, Metalsky and Abramson (1989), which emphasises stability and globality above internality and adds that expectations and the importance people attach to events must be considered. It has been drawn to my attention recently that there is a 2006 paper on this in "Journal of Abnormal Psychology". ACEOREVIVED 18:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Anderson's work[edit]

I have added reference to Anderson's work, using the Attributional Style Assessment Test. I am not sure why, when I added this initially, some one removed it. I would have thought that Anderson's work was quite important to attributional style research, as it suggested a revival of the concept of attributional style after the skepticism of Cutrona and Russell. ACEOREVIVED

16:19, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Question of whether separation is needed[edit]

Some time ago, I raised the question of whether separate articles should be used for this topic and that on attributional style. I see that this is article is currently 33 kilobytes long, and so has not yet reached the "May eventually be separated" aspect of articles of 40 kilobytes long or longer. I think it OK, therefore, to leave things as they are. ACEOREVIVED 20:53, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Just one section needs an edit and then the tag can be removed[edit]

I have put a lot of work into tidying up this article, as the long list of references at the end attests, and it is almost ready to lose its categorisation as an article requiring expert psychology attention now that it has had a lot of attention from me (who, incidentally, teaches Psychology and has three degrees in the subject). The only section I think needs improvement now is the section on "Familial origins" and I think this needs the attention of a specialist in developmental psychology. ACEOREVIVED 19:02, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Why I felt that the tags could be removed on May 31 2007[edit]

What first drew my attention to this article was seeing how it had been categorised an article needing attention from a psychology expert. I have revised it thoroughly, added lots of references and made it a lot more accurate and lot more comprehensive than the version of this article that Wikipedia readers would have read in January 2007. Therefore, I felt it OK to remove the tags stating that this required attention from a psychology expert or needed a clean-up. I keep on saying that we need attention from a developmental psychologist, but as no one has done anything to improve the section on familial origins, I shall have a look at this topic and try to improve it myself some time; likewise, I hope to extend the section on cross-cultural psychology. I have, however, kept the categorisation of this as an article with unsourced statements, as there are still some of these in the article. ACEOREVIVED 19:08, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Duttweiler reference[edit]

~I shall probably add the Duttweiler reference some time, as I have now had a chance to see the original article. ACEOREVIVED 18:56, 13 October 2007 (UTCI di d I did that this evening (October 16) and hope that what I wrote about the Internal Control Index makes sense to people. If readers reading this page feel that my language gets overly technical in this section, please leave a message on my userpage and I shall try to fix it. ACEOREVIVED 19:36, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

overall tone[edit]

The overall tone of this piece was that Rotter was somehow a popularizer of locus of control, rather than its originator. When he published his monograph in 1966, it was the culmination of over ten years of programmatic research by himself and his students. James, Phares and Lefcourt were all Rotter students at Ohio State University in the 1950s. In addiiton, it is important to note that this research was conducted within the framework of Rotter's (1954) social learning theory of personality. 22:23, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Alternative account[edit]

Locus of Control

Earlier this year (2007), I e-mailed a world famous authority on locus of control (I shall keep identity anonymous) when this article was in its earlier and rather dubious version. The authority typed back an article which I reproduce here, which has not been published (so to reproduce his reply verbatim would not infringe copyrights). The reply was:

Historical Origins

Locus of control is a concept initially used to distinguish between two types of situations – those in which outcomes are determined by skill in contrast to settings where chance is the main determinant of success and failure. For example, in games such as chess, sporting events such as tennis, and exams in fields such as math, it is reasoned that positive and negative outcomes are determined primarily by ability and level of skill. This does not imply that chance has no influence whatsoever on what has transpired. After all, perhaps the tennis match was affected by a gust of wind blowing the ball, or the math exam score influenced by a guess at a true/false alternative. Nonetheless, outcomes in these events primarily are determined (or, are perceived as determined) by ability. Ability is located within the person; hence, the so-called locus of control is internal. On the other hand, if a “head” or a “tail” will be showing in a coin toss, or whether red or black will be the place the ball stops in roulette, is determined (or, is perceived to be determined) by chance (assuming the game is “fair”). Of course, some may think they can sway where the roulette ball stops or that they can guide the appearance of a head or a tail on a coin toss, so that ability may be conceived as influencing task outcome. Nonetheless, most individuals on most occasions believe that success and failure at these tasks are chance-determined. Chance is regarded as external to the person, resulting in the external locus of control label.

In sum, the locus of control construct refers to the location of a cause as lying along an internal-external continuum, although these often are regarded as dichotomous alternatives. These concepts were first articulated by Julian Rotter and his students in the late 1950s and early 1960s (see Rotter, l966). Expectancy of success. The distinction between skill- versus chance-tasks was initially hypothesized to affect expectancies regarding future success and failure. This was regarded of particular importance because expectancy is one of the main determinants of action. After all, even when a goal is badly desired, there is likely to be little behavior undertaken if the subjective likelihood of attaining this goal is zero.

Research pursuing the linkage between locus of control and expectancy documented that given skill tasks, expectancy of success greatly increases following success and falls following failure. Thus, after losses to another in games of chess, the subjective likelihood of future success against that opponent decreases. The loser reasons: “I am not good enough to win.” In a similar manner, likelihoods regarding future success increase following success at a task decided by skill. These changes are labeled “typical” expectancy shifts, i.e., the direction of the change is consistent with the prior outcome. Conversely, expectancies regarding future success and failure are not dramatically altered following success and failure at tasks determined by chance. For example, after a loss at a coin toss, or at a roulette wheel, the estimated likelihoods of future success show relatively little fluctuation. In fact, when they do change, they often are in a direction opposite to the prior outcome. Thus, after losing a coin toss, there tends to be an increase in the anticipation of a positive outcome on the next trial. The person thinks: “My bad luck surely is about to change.” This is sometimes referred to as the “gambler’s fallacy” or the “negative recency effect.” It is a fallacy because actual future results at chance tasks are unaffected by prior outcomes, and the recency is “negative” in that a result differing from the past is anticipated. In a similar manner, perceived likelihoods of future success following a success at a chance task may not rise and even could drop. Expectancy shifts following failure and success that are in opposition to the prior outcome are labeled “atypical,” and at times are also observed in skill-related tasks. Transition to Individual Difference In the field of psychology, some individual difference research has been guided by findings first related to environmental effects. For example, it was reported that in simple learning situations, conditions of high fear (for example, created by a large anticipated shock) give rise to faster learning than conditions of low fear (the expected onset of a low shock). It was then reasoned that, given a simple learning task, individuals with highly fearful dispositions (labeled “highly anxious”) would learn faster than persons dispositionally low in fear (anxiety). That is, a difference in speed of learning first attributable to disparities in the environment was brought to bear on hypothesized inequalities between persons when in the same environment. Guided by this approach, it was reasoned by Rotter (1966) that some persons are prone to regard the environment as creating a skill-related challenge, whereas others are more likely to consider events in that same environment as subject to the rules of chance. That is, some persons are considered “internal” and others “external” in locus of control. Numerous individual difference measures were created to assess this postulated personality characteristic. In a typical assessment instrument, participants choose between two items such as: a. Without the right breaks one cannot be an effective leader b. Capable people who fail to become leaders have not taken advantage of their opportunities In these two items, response “a” would be endorsed by someone considered external in locus of control, whereas response “b” supports the internal locus of control label. The study of locus of control after the 1960s subdivided into two rather distinct directions. In one approach, general or specific locus of control measures (e.g., health locus of control), as illustrated above, were used to predict a wide variety of thoughts and actions. In a second research direction, a conceptual framework called “attribution theory” was developed that featured the study of phenomenal causality, or the perceived causes of events and outcomes. The concept of causal locus fit within this umbrella. Attribution theory, limited in this context to its association with causal locus, will be next discussed, followed by a review of the individual difference research.

The Causal Analysis by Attribution Theorists

The introduction of attribution ideas to psychology is attributed to Fritz Heider (1958). The underlying assumption of this approach is that persons want to understand their environments and seek to determine the causes of events. This has functional significance because knowing the cause of an event or outcome helps in the attainment of desired goals. For example, perceiving the cause of losing a race as insufficient training, poor shoes, being over-weight, or entering the wrong distance race will give rise to very disparate behaviors, assuming one aspires to win future races. Among the contributions of attribution theorists is that causes have numerous properties (see Weiner, 1985). Locus of causality is included among these characteristics – some causes lie within the person whereas others reside in the environment. This was captured by Rotter’s distinction between skill and luck – skill is internal to the individual, while luck (chance) is considered part of the environment. But among the other properties of causes is their control or controllability. Consider, for example, aptitude and effort as determinants of task success. Both aptitude and effort are internal causes, yet only the latter is controllable by the actor. Attribution theorists pointed out that the concept of locus of control includes not just one property of causes (locus), but also a second characteristic (controllability). If one succeeds because of high aptitude, the locus is internal yet the cause is uncontrollable. The label “locus of control” is thus confounded and misguiding because it implies all internal causes are controllable. In a similar manner, external causes may be uncontrollable (the picnic was ruined by sudden rain) or controllable by others (the picnic committee selected a place that is always wet). Attribution theorists offer the constructs internal versus external causality, or internal versus external attribution, to denote causal location. In addition, a second property of causality is postulated to be controllability, captured by the labels controllable and uncontrollable causality. The combination of these two properties yields four differentiations: internal, controllable causality (e.g., effort); internal, uncontrollable causality (e.g., aptitude); external, controllable causality (e.g., intended actions of others); and external, uncontrollable causality (e. g., luck). Aptitude and luck thus share the property of uncontrollability, although the former is internal and the latter external to the person. In addition, attribution theorists posited a third property of causes, called causal stability. Stability refers to the duration, endurance, or time course of a cause. It is reasoned that some causes, such as aptitude, endure over time. One does not have math aptitude on Monday but not Tuesday, or artistic aptitude this year but not the next. Conversely, other causes fluctuate or come and go. One may be lucky in one instance but unlucky the next; a sudden rain can ruin a picnic on Monday but not on Tuesday; and so on.

Stability, just as control, also may be combined with causal locus to yield four descriptive categories of causes: internal, stable causes (e.g., aptitude); internal, unstable causes (e.g., effort); external, stable causes (e.g., objective task difficulty); and external, unstable causes (e.g., luck). This analysis reveals confusion when comparing skill and luck, as Rotter did. Skill is not only internal but is relatively stable (particularly if one assumes it is related to aptitude), whereas luck is not only external, but also unstable. Expectancy of success. The introduction of causal stability made evident another shortcoming of work related to locus of control. As already discussed, research by Rotter found that outcomes in skill and chance tasks produce a disparate pattern of expectancy shifts. This finding is empirically correct. The reason given was that skill is internal (in so-called locus of control) whereas luck is external. That distinction also is correct. However, what is incorrect is the linking of causal locus (now using attribution terminology) to expectancy shifts. Consider, for example, this comparison. If one fails at math because of low aptitude, an internal cause of failure, then expectancy of future success decreases. On the other hand, if failure is because of lack of studying due to illness (the flu), also an internal cause, then expectancy of future success is not likely to drop. Why is it that two internal causes produce unequal anticipations about the future? The reason is that aptitude is stable – it will not change in the future, so that future failure is anticipated. Conversely, the flu is expected to go away and, therefore, success is possible. That is, the stability property of causality, not locus, is linked to expectancy of success. In a similar manner, if a picnic is canceled because of a sudden rainstorm, it is unlikely that expectancies of future picnic success are dampened (excuse the pun). But if the picnic is cancelled because of the early onset of winter, or because the heat of the summer resulted in the grass dying, or because the grounds were taken for a new housing development, then the anticipation of having a future picnic at that location and in the immediate future greatly decreases. The difference in the rainstorm versus the other external causes is that the former is unstable whereas the latter are stable. In sum, expectancy of success is unrelated to beliefs about locus but is related to beliefs about causal stability. Hence, expectancy shifts are typical in skill tasks not because skill is an internal cause, but because it is relatively stable. On the other hand, expectancy shifts are atypical in chance tasks not because the locus is external, but because luck is unstable. Locus of control researchers, then, did not recognize the richness or complexities of phenomenal causality and, in so doing, ignored important causal properties. As one consequence, they related an incorrect causal property (locus) to an important psychological outcome (expectancy shifts). Consequences of locus of causality beliefs. To what, then, does causal locus relate? According to attribution theorists, it predicts a great deal of affective life (see Weiner, 2006). For example, to experience pride in accomplishment, attribution of success must be to the self. One is proud when success is ascribed to aptitude or effort, which are internal causes, but not when receiving a high grade in a class when that teacher gives only high grades (external causality). Similarly, affects including shame and guilt require self-blame, whereas gratitude is experienced only when there is an external attribution. It should be no surprise, then, that persons are prone to attribute success to the self (and in so doing increase pride and self-esteem) and failure to external sources (and so decrease shame and guilt). That is, human behavior is characterized by frequent hedonic biasing, or beliefs that enhance the self. While attribution theorists have examined the locus portion of the locus of control construct, researchers assessing locus of control have been more interested in control beliefs, or thoughts that one can determine her or his own fate. Let us, then, turn to the individual difference research and examine a far different history of locus of control than attended to by attribution theorists. The fine theoretical distinctions drawn by attribution theorists played little role in the individual difference studies, which were more concerned with applied issues than with a fine-grained analysis of causal thinking. References Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80, (1, Whole No. 609). Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement-related emotions and motivation. Psychological Review, 29, 548-573. Weiner, B. (2006). Social motivation, justice, and the moral emotions. Mahwah, N. J.: Erlbaum Publishers.

I just wonder how people would feel about that if it were inserted into the article to replace what is written here? I am grateful to the person who sent me this e-mail; I should also seen that he later e-mailed me, to say that he did not like the current status of the article (he said it bore little resemblance to what he typed in the above passage, and also claimed that the current version of this article contains errors). What do other Wikipedians think about the possibility of replacing this article with the above one? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:38, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Importance of Subject Lack of Consciousness[edit]

Second sentence states [ "This decision, which is not usually within conscious awareness .." ] subjects not being aware of the locus issue is fundamental to the topic. Is there material addressing retraction/relaxation of this condition? Lycurgus (talk) 21:51, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

the intro is horrible[edit]

i had to read through it 5 times to get a vague misinterpretation. maybe some rewording should be done? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I read this and took note. I have now replaced the introduction with the introduction from the alternative account that appears in the "talk page" which an expert on the subject e-mailed to me. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:29, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

False dichotomy?[edit]

"One's "locus" (Latin for "place" or "location") can either be internal (meaning the person believes that they control their life) or external (meaning they believe that their environment, some higher power, or other people control their decisions and their life)."

Can't one's locus be some combination of the two (as appears to be the actual case)? Or are they truly mutually exclusive?

Locus of control isn't monolithic, it's a label for individual behaviours and also a scale for individual people. Any given behaviour can be deemed internally or externally driven. A person who tends to claim internal responsibility has a high internal locus of control while someone who tends to blames external forces would have a high external locus of control. Naturally, the internality or externality of certain behaviours is pretty obvious. You might join a queue for a public toilet because you want to use it - internal locus. You actually use the toilet when you reach the front of the queue - external locus. The interesting aspects are when a person claims the opposite of what seems obvious or when there's ambiguity. For instance, a bully who hits someone because they made him do it has an external locus for a clearly internal choice.
I would argue that there are two types of internal locus of control. It's possible for a person to ascribe control of their life to themself, that is, their organism, while not considering their self to be in control, rather that they are subject to the control of their body or unconscious. People with poor impulse control, for instance, may recognise that they are the source of their actions yet feel that they are not in control. (talk) 22:06, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

" of control, a concept linked with expectancies about the future."???[edit]

I'm not qualified to edit the article, but the above phrase has me worried. Several articles I've read have contradicted the above sentence (taken from the article's summary). Here's one example: "Specifically, high scoring students identify effort and ability as causes of their success, whereas those performing poorly are more likely to cite test difficulty and bad luck as causes." This is a quote from the Journal of College Student Development, Vol 49, Number 5, Sept/Oct 2008. It seems to imply attributing cause to a past occurence, not future outcomes. I could be misinterpreting the quote, but it seems like something to be looked into. Futurelibrarian (talk) 04:41, 18 October 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Futurelibrarian (talkcontribs) 04:36, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Locus of control and Religion[edit]

Does anyone know whether there has been any studies about religion's influence of a person's locus of control? Logically one would assume religious people to have a more external locus since at least Christians and Muslims believe in an almighty external force which controls the entire Universe. Aaker (talk) 20:10, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

There is some research on the locus of control of muslims, but I don't know if this counts as a proper study. (talk) 14:19, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Sentence fragment (something lost in copy-and-paste?)[edit]

"The stability dimension added to our understanding of why people success or failure after such outcomes." Why people what? Sounds like the start of one sentence and the end of another. Or at least there's a verb missing. (The article is outside my subject area, so I can't help here.) fuper (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


What if I believe that bad things happen due to external factors and good things in my life and successes are results from internal factors e.g. my hard-working? All these concepts area outdated. There's gray between the black and white! (talk) 06:19, 23 February 2010 (UTC)


I believe this page needs some kind of cleanup. It is way overcrowded with lots of stuff and is somewhat confusing. Also these talk pages are not forums. Jasonxu98 (talk) 21:47, 5 October 2010 (UTC) This is WHY WIKI is NOT a credible reference for ALL you beginning student and also WHY you should NEVER EVER use WIKI for any research! ANYONE may post including me just now!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 2 April 2013 (UTC)


I haven't done any research on this, but I suspect that Locus of control is strongly correlated with political ideology. Based on what the two ideologies advocate, I would suspect that conservatives have an internal locus while liberals have an external locus of control.

Does Wikipedia need an article on attributional style?[edit]

An article in Wikipedia on attributional style theory, as presented by Abramson, Seligman and Teasdale (1978), might help to clarify some of the concepts in this article. Vorbee (talk) 15:56, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

I see that there is such an article but it is labelled "explanatory style" and attributional style redirects there. The reference I was giving was Abramson, L., Seligman, M.E.P. & Teasdale, J. (1978) Learned Helplessness in Humans: Critique and Reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 87 (1). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vorbee (talkcontribs) 16:38, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

This article has improved[edit]

I have memories of how bad this article was back in the days when I used to edit Wikipedia under the name User: ACEOREVIVED. I see it has now improved. Vorbee (talk) 16:03, 3 January 2019 (UTC)