[Paleopsych] control

Ross Buck ross.buck at uconn.edu
Fri Dec 17 15:18:00 UTC 2004

Taking control of yourself versus being in control of a situation are two
sorts of control that differ in interesting ways.  There is a great deal of
attention to and research on control over events in the terrestrial
environment (Piagetian-style competence, or effectance) and the social
environment (social competence).  Attribution theory distinguishes whether
such events are caused by the self or the environment, and the individual is
seen to be "responsible" for events attributed to the self (internal
attribution) and not responsible for events attributed to the external
environment (external attribution).  There is another environment however,
that receives less attention: the bodily environment.  Feelings and desires
(emotions and motives) are associated with bodily responses inextricably
associated with the self, but one is not "responsible" for them in the same
way as one is responsible for intended actions.  Thus one is not
"responsible" for being depressed.  The same is true for illness: one is not
"responsible" for having cancer.  Nevertheless, a feeling or sense that one
has control over depression or cancer is extremely important in one's
ability to cope.  There are potential problems here in that encouraging a
person to feel in control may incorrectly be taken as implying they are
"responsible" for their condition.  


-----Original Message-----
From: paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org
[mailto:paleopsych-bounces at paleopsych.org] On Behalf Of Michael Christopher
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 3:35 PM
To: paleopsych at paleopsych.org
Subject: [Paleopsych] control

>>Feeling in control is important, but taking 
control of yourself in a situation is just as
important as being in control of the situation.<<

--Good point. I think it would be useful to look at
social stratification not in terms of financial worth,
but in terms of how much control a person is able to
feel he has in his everyday life. Those who feel out
of control, regardless of their economic situation,
are going to have a very different worldview from
those who feel they have control. 

One question: can everyone feel in control, or is it a
zero-sum game?


Do you Yahoo!? 
Take Yahoo! Mail with you! Get it on your mobile phone. 
paleopsych mailing list
paleopsych at paleopsych.org

More information about the paleopsych mailing list