Causal attribution and social judgment
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Causal Attribution and Social Judgment. Back to construal. Misunderstandings across genders—the case of unwanted sexual advances. Back to construal. Misunderstandings across cultures—the Hainan island incident-- collision of Chinese and US jets in 2001. Apology diplomacy

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Causal Attribution and Social Judgment

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Causal attribution and social judgment

Causal Attribution and Social Judgment


Back to construal

Back to construal

  • Misunderstandings across genders—the case of unwanted sexual advances


Back to construal1

Back to construal

  • Misunderstandings across cultures—the Hainan island incident-- collision of Chinese and US jets in 2001

  • Apology diplomacy

  • Different cultural perceptions


Outline

Outline

  • Causal Attribution—how we make sense of other peoples’ behaviour

  • Self-knowledge—how we make sense of who we are and our own behaviour

  • Social Judgment—strategies, errors and biases in social decision making


Causal attribution and social judgment

Optimistic attributional style predicts future physical health

Even controlling for earlier health


Why attribution matters

Why Attribution Matters

Attribution –

Explanatory style -


Why attribution matters1

Why Attribution Matters

Optmistic attributional style

Pessimistic attributional style


Optimistic attributional style predicts

Optimistic attributional style predicts

  • Academic achievement

  • Physical health

  • Longevity

  • Relationship satisfaction

  • Likelihood of being elected to office


Attributional biases

Attributional Biases

  • Fundamental attribution error:overestimating internal factors and underestimating external factors when explaining other people’s behaviour

    • “Castro Study”


Causal attribution and social judgment

Jones and Harris (1967) ‘Castro study’


Attributional biases1

Attributional Biases

  • Fundamental attribution error:

    • Anxious public speaker

    • Friendly saleswoman

    • Talkative talk show host

    • Deranged suicide terrorist


Research shows suicide bombers are not

Research shows Suicide Bombers are not…

  • Mentally ill

  • Suicidal

  • Poor

  • Suffering from personality disorders

  • But they are: unmarried young adult men

  • Better explanation: group dynamics (recruitment) and popular support for suicide attacks


Causal attribution and social judgment

Study 1: Palestinian Representative Sample, 1999 (N=1151)

Ginges, Hansen, Norenzayan, 2009

Support for “martyrdom attacks”

Regular attenders 1.8 times more likely to support

Wald = 6.42 , 95% CI for OR = 1.16--3.02, P=0.01

No independent effect of prayer frequency

Control variables: prayer frequency, gender, economic satisfaction, education, refugee status, support for Islamic state


Causal attribution and social judgment

Study 2: Palestinian University Student Sample 2006 (N=719)

Agreement that “Islam encourages or requires martyrdom attacks”

Regular attenders 3.1 times more likely to support

Wald = 8.473, 95% CI for OR= 1.45--6.47, P=0.004

No independent effect of prayer frequency

Controls: prayer frequency, gender, economic satisfaction, education, refugee status and identification with Islamist Palestinian organizations


Causal attribution and social judgment

The tombstone of Baruch Goldstein which describes him as “murdered as a martyr of God”. On the 25th of February, 1994 Goldstein died while killing 29 Muslims at prayer, and injuring 60 others, in the “Cave of the Patriarchs”, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews located in Hebron, the West Bank


Causal attribution and social judgment

P=.04

P=.09


10 nation bbc survey of religious beliefs

10-Nation BBC Survey of Religious Beliefs

  • Mexico (Catholic)

  • Great Britain (Protestant)

  • Russia (Orthodox)

  • India (Hindu)

  • Indonesia (Muslim)

  • Israel (Jewish)

4704participants

52.7% female

age 18 to over 55

Variation in SES & income

Major religious groups

Joint agreement with:

1) “ I am willing to die for my God (beliefs)”

2) “I blame other religions for the problems of the world”


Causal attribution and social judgment

Controls: age, sex,

SES, education,

human dev index

Odds of supporting combative martyrdom


Attributional biases2

Attributional Biases

  • Fundamental attribution error:explanations

    • Perceptual:

    • Cognitive:

    • Motivational:

    • Cultural:


Cultural differences in causal attributions

Cultural differences in causal attributions

Sports articles: US newspapers, more dispositional attributions

Hong Kong newspapers, more situational attributions

Cultural differences disappeared for editorials

Lee, Hallahan, & Herzog, 1996


Causal attribution and social judgment

The dilemma of the innocent victim

  • JWB allows individuals to maintain a sense of purpose and control—bad things couldn’t happen to me

  • Injustice in the world is a perceived threat

  • Outcomes reflect personal traits – more FAE

  • One pernicious consequence: blaming victims


Just world beliefs lerner miller 1978

Just World Beliefs(Lerner & Miller, 1978)

Just-world beliefs-

  • “By and large, people deserve what they get in life”

  • “Basically, the world is a just place”

  • “People who do their job will rise to the top”

  • “People who meet with misfortune have often brought it on themselves”


Just world beliefs

Just World Beliefs

Blaming the victim—experiments by Lerner & colleagues

  • Participants watch another person suffer (victim)

  • Restore Justice Condition: Participant (or someone else) can help the victim

  • JWB Condition: participant (or someone else) cannot help the victim

  • Outcome:

  • Results:


Just world beliefs1

Just World Beliefs

Victim derogation is less likely

Who believes in a just world?


Just world beliefs summary clarifications

Just World Beliefs: Summary & Clarifications

  • When one believes in just world

  • AND the victim cannot be helped = MORE victim blaming

  • Not about self helping victim (empathy)

  • Not about perceived competence of the victim (VB even when victim is “randomly assigned” to be a victim)


Attributional biases3

Attributional Biases

  • Actor-observer effect:

  • Example: perceptions in conflict

    • Explanations:

    • 1)

    • 2)


Attributional biases4

Attributional Biases

  • Self-serving bias:


Self knowledge

Self-Knowledge

  • How and how much do we know ourselves?

  • Barriers to self-knowledge

  • Conscious vs. unconscious self-knowledge

  • Strategies for self-knowledge


Escape from the self

Escape from the Self

  • Our defenses stop us from knowing ourselves, esp. undesirable aspects

  • We escape self-awareness through

    • Defensive strategies (suppression, denial)

    • Addictions: alcohol and drug abuse, sex, eating, TV, suicide, etc.

    • Work, hobbies, other people


Self knowledge1

Self-Knowledge

  • We may have limited ability to know ourselves

  • Ways into self-knowledge

    • Introspection

    • Observing our own behaviour

    • Learning about how others see us


Introspection

Introspection

  • Look inward to observe

    • 1) Feelings, thoughts, desires

    • 2) Reasons behind our actions

  • More successful with 1) then 2)

  • The causes behind our tendencies are not readily visible—psychological research better way to know this


Introspection do we know the causes of our behavior

Introspection--do we know the causes of our behavior?

  • Confabulation: studies with split-brain patients (Gazzaniga & Ledoux)

  • Pantyhose study (Nisbett & Wilson)


Causal attribution and social judgment

Language centres in Left Hemisphere


Introspection do we know the causes of our behavior1

Introspection--do we know the causes of our behavior?

  • Confabulation: studies with split-brain patients (Gazzaniga & Ledoux)

  • Pantyhose study (Nisbett & Wilson)

  • Cognitive dissonance studies, studies of discrimination—peoples explanations of their own behaviour have little to do with observed causes


Observing our own behaviour

Observing our own behaviour

  • Self perception theory:


How others see us

How Others See Us

  • Our defenses prevents us from wanting to know ourselves

  • But others who know us well can see through these defenses

  • They can also be good observers of our behaviour

  • Ex: my colleague’s hostility in the late afternoon


Strategies that facilitate self knowledge

Strategies that facilitate self-knowledge

  • Self-acceptance (less defensiveness)

  • Connecting with our feelings and observing our thoughts without identifying with them

  • Find out how knowledgeable others see us

  • Visualizing our reactions to future situations

  • Psychological research (esp. for reasons behind our actions)


Thin slicing how first impressions matter

“Thin slicing”: How first impressions matter

  • The statue that didn’t look right (see Gladwell, Blink)

  • First impression in dates, job interviews, consumer choices, …


Thin slicing how first impressions matter1

“Thin slicing”: How first impressions matter

  • Judging personality traits (Willis & Todorov, 2006)


Thin slicing how first impressions matter2

“Thin slicing”: How first impressions matter

  • Teacher evaluations (Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993)

    • 10, 5, 2 sec. long videotape of prof’s teaching

    • …predicted student evaluations at the end of term


Thin slicing how first impressions matter3

“Thin slicing”: How first impressions matter

  • Do people agree on first impressions?

    • Yes

  • The 1 million $ chicken-egg question:

    • 1) Is the (often biased) first impression coloring longer term judgment? Or

    • 2) accurately perceiving what’s there takes only seconds?


Causal attribution and social judgment

d

Prop. of correctly predicted soccer games as a function of expertise and thought, Exp 1 (Dijksterhuis et al 2009)

Immed: 20sConsc: 2mUnconsc: 2m distr.


Heuristics in social judgment

Heuristics in Social Judgment

  • Heuristic:


Heuristics in social judgment1

Heuristics in Social Judgment

  • Representativeness heuristic-


Heuristics in social cognition

Heuristics in Social Cognition

  • Availability Heuristic:


The statistics

The statistics

  • By number of deaths:

    • Deaths due to car transportation: 40,000/year

    • Deaths due to airline transportation: 200/year

  • By number of passengers

    • Car: 1/6800 deaths per year

    • Airline: 1/1.6 million per year

  • Controlling for distance covered

    • 10-40 times more likely to die driving than flying


The statistics1

The statistics

  • But media coverage is incredibly skewed:

    • 0.02 cancer stories/1000 cancer deaths

    • 1.7 murder stories/1000 homicides

    • 2.3 AIDS stories/1000 AIDS deaths

    • 138 plane crash stories/1000 airplane deaths


Social cognition conclusions

Social Cognition: Conclusions

  • Naïve realism: belief that one’s own perspective reflects objective reality, whereas others are biased

  • People are not objective observers of the social world; they construe their world in particular ways–heuristics and self-protective defenses to make sense of the social world

  • These ways of construal have consequences (health, decisions, conflict,…)


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