2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Natural Language Analysis of Locus of Control 


Anthony D. Rogers*, Bailey Holm, Emily E. Kinkade, Victoria Spain , and Nala Turner
Dr. Jeffrey R. Vittengl, Faculty Mentor

This study tested the hypothesis that external locus of control predicts high negative and low positive affect. Building on previous self-report research, external locus of control was scored reliably from natural writing using a standardized rating system developed for this study. Participants wrote about a time when they felt especially sad, blue, or down and completed self-report mood measures before and after writing. By scoring external locus of control from writing samples, we reduced method variance shared with self-reported mood to better estimate the constructs’ true correlations. We found small but statistically significant correlations between external locus of control and negative affect before and after the writing prompt, and between external locus of control and decreases in positive affect from before to after writing. These results strengthen the theory that perceived control over one’s life (low external locus of control) predicts improved mood.

Keywords: Locus of Control, Affect, Mood

Topic(s):Psychology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 13-
Location: GEO - SUB
Time: 

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