Autonomy & Sense of Freedom

Autonomy & Sense of Freedom

Internal, External locus of control & Personal Freedom

Our lives develop and evolve based on our choices and sometimes these choices are free of outside influences and this is known as autonomy. Each individual’s level of autonomy affects their sense of freedom by either allowing them to make decisions freely or have their decisions controlled by other factors. For example, many students entering college celebrate their autonomy and the sense of freedom that comes with it because they are no longer living under their parent’s control. A college student can make choices regarding which major they would like to pursue, whether or not to go to class on any given day, and who to live with. With these decisions comes a great degree of freedom.

A person who aligns him or herself with the incremental theory would probably view their sense of freedom much differently than a person who aligns him or herself to the entity theory. The two theories, incremental and entity, refer to learning and whether or not intelligence is fixed. The entity theory believes that intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed, so people who believe this would probably feel that their fixed level of intelligence controls and limits their freedom. In contrast, the incremental theory believes that intelligence is changeable and can be built upon throughout our lifetimes. So, people who align themselves with the incremental theory probably feel that their freedom is not restricted by their intelligence because their intelligence can increase if they so desire it to.

Locus of control refers to how an individual perceives that outcomes result from his or her own behaviors or from forces that are external and beyond their control. People who have an external locus of control believe that fate determines outcomes, not hard work or decisions. An individual with this external locus of control probably does not feel very free to choose their own destiny, or they could feel very free because they believe that whatever decisions they make won’t affect their fate. In contrast, an individual with an internal locus of control who believes that outcomes are determined by his or her hard work, attributes and decisions probably feel more freedom to make effective choices and determine the path of their own lives.


Photo by Werner Du plessis on Unsplash


Triola Vincent. Tue, Jan 12, 2021. Autonomy & Sense of Freedom Retrieved from

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