Social cognition has been the most dominant social psychological perspective within psychology since the s, and this is evident in the popularity of research on attribution. Paul Tuss, Jules Zimmer, and Hsiu-Zu Ho and Donald Mizokawa and David Rickman report, for instance, that Asian and Asian American students are more likely to attribute academic failure and success to effort than are European American students, who are more likely to attribute performance to ability. Commonly, defensive attributions are made when individuals witness or learn of a mishap happening to another person. Empirical research has demonstrated, not surprisingly, that there are systematic patterns in what has been variously conceived of as bias or error in the attribution process Ross
If Tom laughs at everything, then distinctiveness is low. In theory, then, both dispositional and situational variables could be identified as causal factors. In response to the first question, Weiner has marshaled impressive evidence that people do indeed make attributions spontaneously. Respondents typically are asked to rate the importance of situational and dispositional causes of events. Cultural patterns also shape responsibility attributions; V. It is quite possible that these categories are so broad as to render a single measure of each virtually meaningless. For example, we see an athlete win a marathon, and we reason that she must be very fit, highly motivated, have trained hard etc. Although people have different kinds of explanations for the events of human behaviors, Heider found it is very useful to group explanation into two categories; Internal personal and external situational attributions. When attributions lead to positive affect and high expectancy of future success, such attributions should result in greater willingness to approach to similar achievement tasks in the future than those attributions that produce negative affect and low expectancy of future success. When the behavior is inconsistent, regardless of the level of consensus or distinctiveness, an attribution to circumstances is predicted. University of Nebraska Press. When we try to explain our own behavior we tend to make external attributions, such as situational or environment features. Social cognition 2nd ed. If only Alison smokes, it is low. Although there has been some support for the applicability of Western models of attribution among non-Western cultures, most of this research has demonstrated in a variety of ways the cultural specificity of particular patterns of attribution Bond Several studies Reese and Brown ; Wiley and Crittenden ; Broman ; Andrews and Brewin have shown that women are less likely than men to make self-serving dispositions. That is, perceivers fail to recognize that behavior often derives from role memberships rather than from individual idiosyncrasy. Tom is laughing at a comedian. Empirical research generally has supported these predictions. When an external attribution is made, the cause of the given behavior is assigned to the situation in which the behavior was seen such as the task, other people, or luck that the individual producing the behavior did so because of the surrounding environment or the social situation. Dispositional Attribution Dispositional attribution assigns the cause of behavior to some internal characteristic of a person, rather than to outside forces. Gestalt psychologist Fritz Heider is often described as the earlyth-century "father of attribution theory". Lower-class whites were the only group to attribute failure to themselves personally. All About Theories for Communication. The major causal dimensions are locus internal or external to the actor , stability or instability, and intentionality or unintentionality of the factor. Hamilton and Hagiwara argue that the Japanese and women were more concerned with maintaining the quality of the interaction between the accuser and the accused.
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