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Essay Sample on Term Paper

Internal and External Loci of Control

Various regularities of life usually are perceived in different ways depending on human personal beliefs, characteristics and types of personality. Therefore, in order to predict the reactions in various situations, it is essential to consider the mind of a person and the individual characteristics that construct motivation and other considerations. Among such, many psychologists starting with Albert Bandura and Julian Rotter put particular attention to the locus of control as an essential psychological notion that provides explanation to many of the human deeds. Its main feature is the ability to prescribe success or failures to the interior or exterior factors. With regard to its crucial importance for the person’s worldview formation, one should mark out its great influence on all spheres of personal and social life. This paper will show how the internal or external LOC can shape different reactions and further event development in case with car accidents and be used to reduce the incident rates by influencing the human consciousness.

The causation of the future or past events is a crucial aspect that forms people’s understanding of the world around. Starting with the poor grades that can be regarded as a result of the insufficient student’s efforts as well as of the professor’s inadequacy, different perception defines the further event development. Locus of Control theory is based on Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, and relates the imitated behavior or its reinforcement to rewards and punishment (Hill, 2011). Furthermore, LOC theory is based on Bandura’s reciprocal determinism and marks out the individual beliefs as essential to shape the behavior and cognition. In such a way, there is a bunch of evidences that any person has to cooperate with the environment in some way. Such cooperation is based on numerous psychological aspects and features that characterize human mind and provides reasons for various kinds of behavior.  LOC theory defines the location of the reasons that influence person’s life. Hence, Rotter’s division provides the possible emphasis on the internal or external factors as those that can control the events and circumstances.

According to Rotter’s scheme describing the relations between the environment and individual, the internal and external LOC lie opposite to one another and lead to completely different results for people. On one side, individual is totally controlling and believes to have high level of responsibility for all life events including the spheres of studies, work, health or personal life. The internal LOC is associated with the strong self-regulatory abilities (Hill, 2011). It is also characterized by higher self-evaluation and self-efficacy. Considering a number of researches dealing with this issue, it is essential to emphasize some of the gender-related characteristics that let the scholars associate different loci of control with different genders. For instance, men are believed to be more internally oriented than women, when it goes about the personal success (Hill, 2011). Among the features that contribute to such beliefs, one should also pay attention to the cultural norms and prescribed models of the male aggressive and female submissive behavior. However, such differences decline with the changes in societal structures. Moreover, the same differences usually are dependent on the age of people and represent the older individuals as more internal. Among the reasons that cause such changes, the psychologist point out their impendence of the family members and mainly children as well as getting more separated from friends than in the earlier age. Additionally, the feature that was proved to be influential to increase the internality of individuals was higher position in the organizational or social structure. As it was obvious from numerous researches, it is more common for successful people to subscribe their achievements to selves rather than fate or anyone else’s support (Hill, 2011). Finally, Rotter and other psychologists drew strong connection between the internal LOC and human motivation to succeed.

The external LOC is associated with the person’s beliefs that success depends on luck, fate or someone else’s help, mainly of those, who should be more powerful and strong. In such a way, one can see that such considerations let one accept any failures more easily than those who have an internal LOC. Feeling self as week and unable to change anything can let a person feel no guilt in some difficult situations and accept everything as it is.  The existence of forces that are outside of people’s control make it easy to keep up with many of the unexpected and unpleasant events; it contributes to the higher sense of satisfaction and lower desire to control in non-responsive environment. However, such orientation does not contribute to self-evaluation or self-efficacy level. Moreover, it does not motivate individuals to self-development and struggle against the life obstacles. Instead, it supports the idea to “go with the flow” and subdue to the circumstances. The most often the external LOC is associated with the lower economic class that implies the influence of the higher classes as inevitable (Hill, 2011). At the same time, the external locus of control characterizes people as helpless, accepting all of the conditions as they are with no strength to influence them, but high level of adjustability. Consequently, those, who pay particular attention to the influence of the outside sources, can be considered as more amendable and inactive in contrast to those, who rely on their own efforts.

Locus of control has been the object of many psychological studies aimed to find its application in the fields of education, health, business and criminology. Practical application gives evidences of the crucial influence of LOC of individuals in all social spheres of life.  However, its wide application becomes a reason for a number of disputes and questions. According to Holland et al. (2010), the debates over the specific and global measures of LOC remain the most influential to define its more useful aspects in practical application. The above mentioned research is also focused on the opposition between the locus of control and attributional style (Holland et al., 2010). The main reason for that is connected with the future- and expectancies-oriented meaning of the LOC in contrast to attributional style, which is closely connected with past outcomes. According to many criteria, locus of control is the dimension of core self-evaluation. Together with neuroticism, self-efficacy, and self-esteem it is highly important to predict personal satisfaction or performance in different spheres. Judge, Locke, and Durham were the first scholars to prove its crucial importance for human behavior and decisions (Holland et al., 2010). They also pointed out the importance of this personality factor for the behavior of drivers in terms of safety on the roads. It is particularly interesting to regard the dependence of the LOC for the possibly changing the actions in response to outcomes. The studies on influence of LOC on drivers and their behavior suggested that externally driven individuals are more likely to get involved in car accidents than those with the internal orientation. The main reason is that people, who believe that only the outer factors, other people and fate predetermine the future, are not likely to take many precautions to prevent road accidents (Holland et al., 2010).  However, according to Holland et al. (2010), drivers with internal LOC can also be associated with risks due to their strong beliefs that hey can avoid an accident anyway. Some other studies showed no connection between the LOC and the frequency of car accident. However, such factors as speed, attitude to the other users, personal values, general attentiveness and attitudes to rules is obviously influential for the road safety (Holland et al., 2010). At the same time, even if the loci of control can be of low importance for the car accidents possibility, they are highly important for the further reaction of the drivers on the event that has happened. As for the connection between the possibility of the serious accidents and LOC, Holland et al. (2010) concluded that the driving styles that vary according to genders and the driving experience are the most influential for the road safety. Nevertheless, the driving style is related to the LOC as the external one predetermines higher dissociative, velocity and distress reduction levels.

According to the beliefs of individuals with strong internal locus of control, life derives primarily from their own actions. They are likely to be proud of selves or blame themselves for any event that had happened in their lives including test or business negotiation results, car accidents etc. They are not likely to balm the others including the teachers, professors or subordinates for their failures. Confidence in their own responsibility is the feature that strongly influences the high level of attentiveness, efforts and self-evaluation. Mainly such notions as self-efficacy, self-evaluation and confidence can be strongly associated with the locus of control. Nevertheless, the above mentioned factors are widely studies by psychologies in order to investigate their influence on the safety life. Some researches show that mainly the drivers with internal LOC, who perceive outcomes to be dependent on their own skill, efforts or behavior (Holland et al., 2010). The research reported the strong connection between the internal LOC and higher anxiety level among drivers. Therefore, the lower perceived control in a threatening situation causes the higher stress. The externally-oriented drivers, who believe in the outside influences, show higher anxiety level whilst driving (Holland et al., 2010). As the driver anxiety can increase risks, one can conclude that mainly the external locus of control is associated with higher accidents rates. Therefore, the driver with increased internal LOC obviously believes that the car accident was the result of his or her mistake or lack of effort.

The locus of control is “the main predictor of human behavior” (Ozkan et al., 2005). Strong external locus of control is mostly associated with low motivational level and higher safety risks. Such categories as the driver’s self-efficacy, motivation to learn, safe driving behavior are quite low (Huang & Ford, 2011). According to Ozkan et al. (2005), in the modern society, the new vehicle technologies demand high level of motivation to learn as well as high level of the safety and driving skills. These factors are mostly associated with the internal LOC instead of the external one. Being characterized by the high amenability and low motivation to change anything, the drivers with the external locus of control tend to neglect their own role in the overall situation in the country. However, the inactivity and leaving things to chance cannot lead to the positive changes. As a result, mainly these factors make the driver feel helpless in the risky situations on the road.

With regard to different positive and negative feature of both loci of control, one can see that the position of a person as well as his or her aims can make it necessary to put some efforts to modify the locus of control. For this reason, there exist special trainings focused on strengthening the internal orientation of people. Mainly the increase of motivation and self-efficacy is the main reason that can lead one to work on personal locus of control. In his work, Hill (2011) marked out the attribution training as one that serves to encourage individuals to say good things about selves and increase the internal locus of control. Another aspect that is referred to when dealing with LOC changes is increase of self-efficacy that is influences by means of conforming one’s achievements and success with own actions and some definite type of behavior. Teaching that the outcomes depend on the behavior and choices is one of the most effective ways to form the belief in the power of control. As for the relations between the locus of control and driving safety, Huang & Ford (2011) marked out the defensive driving training program as one that can effectively enhance the drivers’ locus of control perception and driving safety. Mainly the changes in driving locus of control showed the increase in driving safety. In addition, the changes in behavior and raising motivation to learn led to decrease in externality, and increase in internality (Huang & Ford, 2011). Consequently, mainly the external locus of control is associated with unsafe driving and higher risk of car accidents (Huang & Ford, 2011).Training that is aimed to decrease the accidents rates is aimed to increase self-efficacy, raise self-awareness and raise the ability to cope with adverse events. In such a way one can see how the locus of control can become influential for the traffic accidents prevention or skills improvement.

In conclusion, this paper demonstrates that the locus of control is influential in practically all spheres of human life including studies, business, health etc. However, the internal and external locus of control characterizes two completely different models of the environment-person interaction. Being highly motivated to change life and make important decisions that is associated with internal LOC is the feature of strong personalities, who possess a high self-efficacy level. At the same time, lower economic class and dependence is associated with the external locus of control and beliefs in inevitability of outer influences or fate. The above mentioned characteristics have strong influence on all life aspects including the road safety that has led many scholars to investigate the drivers’ loci of control and possibilities to affect them. With the evidences that the external locus of control shows higher anxiety level of the drivers and higher accidents risk, the scholars have offered special trainings that are effectively used to decrease accidents levels and mortality rates. The defensive driving training program is one of the most effective to influence the drivers’ self-efficacy and raise their internal locus of control. Mainly the perception of personal action and valid estimation of their importance defines the future life of people and society in general. 

References

  1. Hill R. (2011). 28 measures of locus of control. Beach Heaven, NJ: Will to Power Press.
  2. Holland, C., Geraghty, J., and Shah, K. (2010). Differential moderating effect of locus of control on effect of driving experience in young male and female drivers. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 821-826.
  3. Huang, J.L., Ford, J.K. (2011). Driving locus of control and driving behaviors: Inducing change through driver training. Transportation Research Part F, 1-11.
  4. Ozkan, T., Lajunen, T., and Kaistinen, J. (2005).Traffic locus of control, driving skills, and attitudes towards in-vehicle technologies. 18th International Co-operation on Theories and Concepts in Traffic Safety, 1-10. 
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