Essay by sh270931 February 2004

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This article is about the research done by Julian Rotter who explored the differences in how people view the consequences of their behavior, categorizing those who believe that their actions directly lead to the consequences as having an internal locus of control and those that believe that consequences are the result of the workings of fate as having an external locus of control. This phenomenon was tested using questionnaires with sets of two statements - one pertaining to internal and the other to external loci of control - where the participants were asked to choose the statement that they agreed with the most in order to determine where on the sliding scale of internal or external they fell and using this information to predict the person's behavior in certain situations. The study found that this I-E (internal - external) scale was an effective predictor of behavior, specifically in the areas of gambling, smoking, political activism, persuasion, achievement motivation, and conformity, with those found to be internals by the I-E scale were better at persuasion, more active in politics, and less likely to blindly go along with the majority opinion, while those identified as externals were more likely to smoke, gamble on the long shot, and less motivated to achieve.

One group of people who seem to have a high tendency of having an external locus of control are athletes. Many athletes are highly superstitious. They have strict routines for getting dressed for the game or perhaps they have a lucky article of clothing or accessory that they have to wear, as if these things are what will determine whether or not they will lose the game. Last season all of the players on the 76ers wore sweatbands on their heads for luck in the playoffs in order to keep...