Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Locus of control
People tend to ascribe their chances of future successes or failures either to internal or external causes. Persons with an internal locus of control see themselves as responsible for the outcomes of their own actions. Someone with an external locus of control, on the other hand, sees environmental causes and situational factors as being more important than internal ones. These individuals would be more likely to see luck rather than effort, as determining whether they succeed or fail in the future.
Locus of control is related to, but distinct from, several other social psychological constructs related to control. Attributions are explanations that people provide, after the fact, to explain why some event has occurred. Like locus of control beliefs, attributions can be classified (among other ways) as either internal or external. Self-efficacy is another related concept, introduced by Albert Bandura. Although someone may believe that how some future event turns out is under their control, they may or may not believe that they are capable of behaving in a way that will produce the desired result. For example, an athlete may believe that training 8 hours a day would result in a marked improvement in ability (an internal locus of control orientation) but not believe that he or she is capable of training that hard (a low sense of self-efficacy).
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