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November 24th, 2011


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10:37 am - Locus of Control
There is a discussion at Crooked Timber, and an article in the NY Times, about people's beliefs about Locus of Control.

Perception of 'Locus of Control' means whether we feel that we are in control of our own destinies, or whether we feel that our life chances are determined by factors outside our personal control.

Here is a test to find out where you place your Locus of Control. My results were 51% to 49% between internal and external locus of control.
Your results suggest you believe your life is defined about equally by both internal forces (drive, free will, etc.) and external forces (genetics, environment, fate). Thus, you have an Ambiverted Locus of Control

I think I have both positive and negative characteristics which have helped to determine my path in life. I can be quite agressive and intellectual, I have volatile emotions, I am over-imaginative, careless, too easily discouraged (and so on). All these things which are internal to me have helped to determine the path I took in life.

On the other hand, it is because I was fortunate enough to be born in England in the 1960s that I was able to express my personal characteristics. I was born into a society where women were gaining rights to education and work equality, and where I had access to some opportunities which were not available to generations before or after me. When I became ill I was treated. When I learned to read there was a library. All of these things which allowed me to express my internal Locus of Control, were paradoxically given to me without my earning them, just by the luck of my birth.

People have said that believing you are in control can lead to better outcomes, but feeling you are out of control is more accurate. Believing in internal control can make people callous to those who have suffered. Yet I would want to bring up a child to feel that they can suceed despite everything.

People in the US and the UK tend to have greater belief in internal Locus of Control, but paradoxically these are countries where it is harder than ever before to change your lot in life.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:spacefall
Date:November 24th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
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That site still does not want me to answer its questions, since it apparently requires you to have either male or female gender :p Just emailed them to moan.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:November 24th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
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I don't even know why they ask it?
[User Picture]
From:spacefall
Date:November 24th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
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To make pie charts?

[User Picture]
From:sheherazahde
Date:November 24th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
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My results:
Internal Locus |||||||||||| 45%
External Locus |||||||||||||| 55%
"Your results suggest you tend to believe that genetics, environment, luck, fate, or other external factors define you more than internal factors like drive and free will.
Thus, you have an External Locus of Control"

That's a fair result. I am in control of my decisions but I'm not in control of my temperament, or my body (I didn't decide to have insulin resistance). It seems to me that a lot of happy people just fell into situations where they met the right people and found a place they belonged. I haven't, but it isn't for lack of trying. I think that people who believe that "you make your own luck" believe that because when they try it works. I have tried a lot of different things and I have learned that there are a lot of things that I'm just not "cut out for".
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:November 24th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
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One of my friends - a highly pragmatic down to earth lady as it happens - became very convinced that she made her own luck in a new age sense, in a metaphysical sense, she chose everything that she experienced. You are right, it really did work for her. It was a very good frame of mind for her, though I personally didn't believe it was 'true'. Interesting, that a false belief helped her through some tough times.
[User Picture]
From:tehomet
Date:November 24th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
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When I ran a new age bookstore, I met a lot of people who had that same belief. I think it's cobblers that one chooses everything that happens to one, child abuse being the obvious acid test, but the illusion of control can indeed be empowering for some people. It's like that platitude, 'Everything happens for a reason.'
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:November 25th, 2011 09:52 am (UTC)
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She took me to a new age meeting and they were talking about empowering disabled people by seeing the disability as a personal choice. I find it extremely problematic, and obviously it's not in any sense 'true'. And yet, to individual people who were there, it seemed to be a positive way to live. I thought the best thing was to keep my sceptical mouth shut, just like I do at any religious gathering.
[User Picture]
From:sheherazahde
Date:November 26th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
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Good decision.
[User Picture]
From:sheherazahde
Date:November 26th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
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I have found that when interacting with other humans holding false beliefs often gives one an advantage.
That is to say: in my experience people who hold false beliefs are often better at getting what they want than people who's beliefs are more rational.
[User Picture]
From:gfk88
Date:November 25th, 2011 08:23 am (UTC)
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I got 61% Internal, which is roughly what I would expect. You can do a lot to exert control over your garden and make it all nice, but if a meteorite is going to land in the middle of it then there's nothing you can do to stop it.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:November 25th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
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Yes, though to me that's quite a high score for Internal. Not sure what the distribution is.

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