The locus of control construct,: as an intrapersonal variable and a situational variable, in a motor learning task, with schizophrenic, paraplegic, and orthopedic subjects
The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate and consolidate certain personality and learning phenomena associated with the concept of locus of control, particularly as it reflects the meaning fulness of a systematic research design which considers a number of related variables simultaneously. Schizophrenic, paraplegic, and orthopedic subjects were differentiated and categorized on the basis of their intrapersonal locus of control and subjected to a motor learning task in which the psychological situation was varied in terms of locus of control. Previous research had demonstrated the existence of locus of control as a theoretical construct, and had developed a few instruments and strategies for measuring it. The results clearly demonstrated the meaningfulness of considering intrapersonal and situational variables simultaneously. Differences between groups were very significant in motor learning, but only when the interactions were considered, since the main effects failed to show significance. The degree of congruence between intrapersonal and situational locus of control accounted for the most meaningful results, particularly when considered in conjunction with particular diagnostic groups. The construct validity of the I-E scale received substantial support in this study, even though differences between the schizophrenic, paraplegic, and orthopedic groups on the I-E scale were not significant. Construct validation was provided by significant differences in motor learning as a function of locus of control. While many of the specific hypotheses of this study were confirmed, the influence of initial ability in motor learning, while substantial, could not be definitively ascertained, pending further, more controlled research. Nevertheless, the findings of this study were meaningful as well as statistically significant. These findings were discussed in terms of providing some useful information regarding the relationship and interaction between personality and learning in general, and locus of control in particular.