L4 - Social Psychology -Attribution

Riya Vaidya
Flashcards by Riya Vaidya, updated more than 1 year ago
Riya Vaidya
Created by Riya Vaidya over 6 years ago


The measurement of causal attributions. The consequences of attributions. The motivational basis of attributions. The levels at which attributions can be made. Major theories and biases in attributions.

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What is an attribution? How you locate the cause or where you find the cause of someone else's behaviour. Attributions are popular area in social psychology.
What is attribution theory? A series of comprised mini theories around a central idea that how we interpret cause effects what we do and how we feel.
What is the biggest distinction in attibution? Internal and external distinction. Heider (1958).
What are some other attributionak dimension? Whether a cause is stable or not. E.g. if someone won a race you would think it is based on luck. Also whether something is controllable or uncontrollable. E.g. aggression can/cannot control themself. Or effort we can work very hard or not bother.
How do we measure attributions? Likert scales. E.g. John does well in a math test. He might say he is very clever then you would rate whether you think the cause is internal and external stable or controllable. Internal = not too good at math Didn't work very hard = controllable.
Men tend to sy that they did good because they are smart = internal always get good marks = stable young boys and girls given tasks uncolvable say no one can do it - boys im not smart - girls women often offer explanations that are detremental to themselves.
How we explain things that have tremendous consequences e.g. in a marriage, if you make certain attribution to partners behaviour questioning why they are behaving like that. If you make external attribution- work = stressful behaviour is expected. Relations are more likely to last if you make attributions. effect our physical well-being and relationships.
Peterson and Seligman (1988) They looked at men who'd graduated from Harvard 40 year olds followed their lives. Peterson found that the way you explain bad things that have happened to you or life e.g. Optimistically or Pessimistically. the pessimist dies in early 50's, depression. They taught people to be positive and challenge negative thoughts.
Motivational Basis of Attributions We often explain things that boost our self esteem or give us a sense of control. We as human beings need to feel good about ourselves and feel as though we are in control.
Self-Esteem Attributions linked to self-esteem in 2 ways, what are they? 1) If you do well in Psychology test you think you are brilliant. (self esteem boosts) If you do bad internal attribution link it to being dumb, (self esteem will decrease).
How does the control factor work in attribution? We need a sense of control! E.g. knowing that we won't be raped, or die of a brain tumor right now, that bad things won't happen to us.
What is a negative of our need to be in control? Often people will blame victims, e.g. murder, rape, children with cancer parents will blame themselves. Good things happen to good people mentality.
Why does victim blame happnen? We can't handle that these bad things can happen to us, so if we blame a victim we think that they did something to cause it. Giving 'good people' an illusion of control.
What are the 4 Levels of Analysis? Intra personal level Interpersonal level Intergroup level Societal level
What does research show at the Intra personal level? The cognitive processes that are involved when people make attributions. Individuals analyze information and come to make an attribution.
What are the major theories of attribution? Correspondence Inference and Covariation and Configuration.
Co-variation Kelley (1967), If your neighbor isn't happy with you have they always been consistent in their behaviour toward you. You look for consensus to see if everyone around you is being treated in the same way. You think its an internal attribution. Or if your neighbor is nice to everyone but you, you think maybe you did something..
What is Level 2 of the analysis? Deals with face to face attributions.
Why are face to face attributions different to level 2 attributions? People tend to be biased in their attributions.
What are the two major types of effect? The ‘Actor Observer Effect’ ‘Self-Serving Bias’.
What is The ‘Actor Observer Effect’? When people tend to attribute the cause of their actions to external attribution but others with internal attribution.
What is the Self-Serving Bias? Where we take credit for our successes but not our failures. If we do well we are brilliant but if we fail we make up excuses e.g. we didn't learn this in the lecture.
What are level 3 attributions about? LEVEL THREE Attributions at this level examine the way in which the members of different groups explain behaviour. E.g. men and women explain things in different ways. Some groups explain things that condemn other groups.
What did Hunter, et al. (1991) look at i level 3? 1994 looked at how Catholics and Protestants explained instances of Catholic and Protestant violence. The Catholics condemn the opposite groups violence saying they are internal. But back up their own violence with external attribution.
Who was the LEVEL FOUR Societal level study conducted by? Miller (1984).
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