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Social Psych Midterm > Attribution > Flashcards

Flashcards in Attribution Deck (11)
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Attributions, general

Causal statements

Focus on thought processes used in explaining behavior, predicting future behavior

The accuracy of personal beliefs or principles is irrelevant to the process of making attributions

Attributions can range from being highly automatic to being the result of controlled, careful, logical thought

Fritz Heider – first to really point out internal vs external: saw humans as "naïve scientists" who would gather info, put it together and draw conclusions about why people they and act they do.


Dimensions of Attributions

Locus – internal/external
--e.g. depression and loneliness associated with making internal attributions for negative events, but external attributions for positive events

Stability – related to expectations of success and achievement motivation

Controllability – individual's determination of whether the actor could behave differently; associated with the motion such as guilt and shame

Globality – how consistent across situations a causal factor is expected to be

Intentionality – whether the actor's behavior was purposeful


Three-Stage Model of Attribution

Identification-What is the actor doing?

Attribution – automatic dispositional inference

Effortful situational correction


Kelley's Model of Causal Attribution

Covariation principle
– behavior is attributed to the cause with which it covaries over time

– do other people experience the same effect with respect to this entity?

– How behavior varies across situations
– Does the effect occur each time the entity is present, regardless of the form of the interactions?
–high consistency = good attribution

– specificity of the occurrence of the behavior, i.e. how the behavior varies as a function of the target (entity).

Attribute to the entity
*High consensus
*High consistency
*High distinctiveness

Attribute to the actor
*Low consensus
*High consistency
*Low distinctiveness


Causal Schemas

Mental models of causalities that allow us to make attributions without necessarily analyzing all available data


Attribution Process Model (chapter 2)

Event occurs…

– novel stimuli
– importance of event
– grabs attention

– ambiguous events are likely to be interpreted in terms of more accessible cognitive category

Immediate Attribution
– spontaneous, require little effort
1. Temporal order
2. Temporal and spatial contiguity cues
3. Similarity cues – events are frequently attributed to causes that are similar in some way
4. In addition to perceptual cues, immediate attributions may result from individuals personal beliefs or social theories being applied to the event

Problem Formulation
– mostly automatic, non conscious
– controlled by guiding knowledge structure
– the most accessible structure that meets some criterion if it is most likely considered first
– this is how individual differences in formulation of the same event may occur

Problem Resolution
– integration of the various pieces of information collected during problem formulation into a "best" attribution

Evaluation of Satisfaction
– receiver must decide whether the best attribution is satisfying enough

Motivational Influences
– motivational factors are important at each step, except problem resolution
– motivationally relevant variables (needs, goals) frequently have impact through purely cognitive processes
– motivational variables can also influence the selection of guiding knowledge structures and relevant information in the problem formulation stage


Consumer Behavior

What kind of attributions do you want to elicit from audience when you are creating an ad.

Kelley’s model:
– consensus: everyone wants it
– distinct (it’s like no other product)
– consistency (many people recommend it)





level of ability


physical characteristics





physical state



degree of task difficulty

environmental helps and hindrances



good or bad luck


transient situational factors