View Full Version : Psychics and the ‘locus of control’.
31st July 2006, 07:31 PM
In psychology, the concept of locus of control is used to describe how a person sees things affecting them. Someone with an external locus of control is a person who sees things happening to them, that their life is in the hands of fate or luck, that their destiny is written in the stars etc. In other words their life is at the mercy of external forces.
Someone with an internal locus of control is someone who believes that they control their own destiny, that their decisions have a direct influence on their lives, that they are responsible for their own actions.
It should come as no surprise that believers in the paranormal, and in superstitions generally, tend to have an external locus of control. This could explain the motivation they have to seek outside help whenever hit problems in life.
Skeptics tend to have an internal locus of control. Again this is fairly obvious as they tend to reject magical thinking in general as the answer to problems.
Now for something that surprised me.
Psychics and mediums, it is found, tend to have an internal locus of control just like us skeptics. ???
So, to those psychologists on here, how can we account for that?
I think it’s fairly well accepted that psychics/mediums do what they do for the level of control people give them (self importance etc.), but how can we reconcile the internal locus of control they have with their believing in and relying on external forces?
Or is there another level to this?
31st July 2006, 07:42 PM
well a sizeable portion of psychics and mediums will be charlatans, in which case an internal locus of control makes sense.
with those who believe that what they do is real (whether it is or not), they themselves are often of importance to what they do. for example most mediums don't claim that the spirits of the dead come to them at random; they summon them. therefore they (the mediums) are in control, and can call on the dead at will.
31st July 2006, 08:52 PM
I wouldn't generalise about this - I would suggest that some mediums also have an external loci - and that these mediums are the ones who tend to be more morally responsible in the way they work.
Some years ago I spent some time (years) investigating and experimenting with a medium (who was fully aware of what I was doing).
She certainly believed that 'that lot up there', as she charmingly termed the spirits, were guiding her life. Coincidences were jumped on as evidence of this; a large and worrying bill would be followed by an unexpected cheque, a badly needed book would arrive by the hand of a visitor (who would bring it along without knowing why), etc etc.
On the other hand, a bad event that went unresolved was always regarded as a lesson, and much thought given to exactly what should be learned from this experience.
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with this glass-half-full attitude, of course.
Unfortunately, it did lead this particular woman to negate all responsibility for her life, in the belief that the spirits were looking after her. Consequently she was in a right old mess - unable to make decisions in most areas of her life.
It was her life and others like it that led me to say 'I've never met a happy medium..' (Tacky, I know, but appropriate!)
I had never considered this from the external/internal loci angle, so thanks for that thought.
I would suggest that the percentage of mediums having external/internal loci is probably the same as in the rest of the population.
1st August 2006, 12:41 PM
Hi Melanie, and welcome.
I saw the locus of control idea in a psychology book but it never went on to explain why many of those who consider themselves as psychic also have an internal locus of control.
I think you've hit on a good point there though. Those who genuinely believe in it have an external locus whilst those who are using their 'psychic gift' for their own ends have an internal one.
Of course the locus of control will only be one piece in the jigsaw but it does explain why believers turn to outside influences to address their issues.
10th August 2006, 11:52 AM
From the perspective of an ex-tarot reader, the plan with some areas of mediumship is to take guidance as to what fate may have in store for you, but to leave an approach as to how to handle that with you. I used to explain it to clients as being liek a road map - you can see where you are, and where you should end up, and some paths and routes in between. Which path you choose is up to you.
If your cards, or whatever kind of reading you get, identifies something that may be an issue or a problem, this has been identified so that you can act on it, and change what may happen - if you choose. Of course, some fates cannot be avoided, and will come back no matter what path you choose.
Basically, looking back now, the reader has an out no matter what happens - if the reading was correct, the reader is accurate and vindicated, but if something totally different happens then the reader can take koudos for alerting the client to take action and change their fate.
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