Interesting piece on Radio Four in the UK this morning entitled, “Travellers’ dilemma: Stay or go?” regarding the dilemmas facing stranded travellers.  The guest speaker Robin Hanbury-Tenison discussed the work of Dr Peter Whybrow and the evidence for a “risk-taking gene” where you, “… just need to get out there and sought things out”!  Psychologist Ben Williams articulated the two positions: of internal locus of control and external locus of control where the former feel they they have a right, duty and desire to make things happen.  Wikipedia expands:

“Locus of control is a term in psychology that refers to a person’s belief about what causes the good or bad results in his life, either in general or in a specific area such as health or academics. Understanding of the concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, and has since become an important aspect of personality studies.

Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them. Individuals with a high internal locus of control believe that events result primarily from their own behavior and actions. Those with a high external locus of control believe that powerful others, fate, or chance primarily determine events.

Those with a high internal locus of control have better control of their behavior, tend to exhibit more political behaviors, and are more likely to attempt to influence other people than those with a high external locus of control. Those with a high locus of control are more likely to assume that their efforts will be successful. They are more active in seeking information and knowledge concerning their situation.

One’s “locus” (Latin for “place” or “location”) can either be internal (meaning the person believes that they control their life) or external (meaning they believe that their environment, some higher power, or other people control their decisions and their life).”

Fascinating stuff.  I would surmise that we are actually made up of both internal and external loci and we try to balance out the competing challenges within our natures.  I would also suggest “externals” are just as likely to seek information and knowledge but don’t use it such an overtly political way.

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