Title of research: Are you the master of your fate?
Date of Study: 1966
Name of Researcher: Julian Rotter
Julian Rotters wanted to study the differences among people of internal and external locus of control. Rotters decided to develop a test that measures a person’s locus of control. He proposed two main points in his research. First, he proposed that the test would measure reliably the extent to which individuals possess an internal or an external locus of control. Second, he proposed that people would display stable individual differences in the same situations.
The scale Rotter had designed, I-E scale, contained pairs of statements that contained internal and external locus of control. The test takers were told to select one statement of each pair that the taker believed to be true. There were no right or wrong answers, but Rotter wanted to measure the personal belief. Rotter’s measuring device contained 23 items for subjects to take.
- Gambling: It was found that individuals identified as internals were those who enjoy betting on sure things. Individuals identified as external were those who wager money on risky bets.
- Political Activism: The IE scale showed that those who participated in marches or civil right movement leaned more toward internal locus of control.
- Persuasion: Rotter selected two groups of students that shared similar attitudes. But one group was an internal, the other was an external. The study showed that the internal group was more successful in persuading people.
- Smoking: It was found that self control was related to internal locus of control. The study showed that smokers were significantly more external.
- Achievement motivation: The Achievement motivation test included plans to attend a college, amount of time spent on homework, and how interested parents were on students’ work. These achievement-oriented factors were more likely found in internal students.
- Conformity: The experiment was designed to test whether a subject’s willingness to agree with a majority’s incorrect judgment was evident in their behavior. The results showed that internals conformed significantly less to the majority.
Rotter found 3 potential sources for the development of an internal and external locus of control.
1. Cultural difference
2. socioeconomic difference
3. Variations in styles of parenting
He compared 3 groups of people in one particular area of America. There were the Ute Indians, Mexican Americans, and the Whites.
Ute Indians were believed to be more external and the Whites were more internal and the Mexicans were in the middle.
Rotter later concluded that those with an internal locus of control are more likely learn more effectively from life experiences for the future, consistently work on improving their life style and develop themselves, place greater values on inner skill and achievement of goals, and be more able to resist manipulation by others.
The Study Rotter did have greatly been influencing our current world.
- Yang and Clum in the year 2000, found the connection between locus control and depression (both of them relate to the topic of helplessness and hopelessness).
- Study of Rotter also goes against the concept of religion. Religion tend to ask people to believe in fate. however, in Rotter's study, this would count as the external locus of control, which is also perceived as being negative.
- Lots of cross-cultural studies relied on Rotter's study.
Internal Locus control = Does not believe in fate. Control in people with belief in themselves.
External Locus control = Believes in fate. People who think that some stuff happen not dependent on themselves but because of the others.