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ATTRIBUTIONS & VALUES ATTRIBUTION THEORY: TYPES OF ATTRIBUTIONS FUNCTIONS FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR Cultural and motivational factors ACTOR-OBSERVER BIAS ROOTS OF THESE BIASES INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON ATTRIBUTIONAL PROCESSES: LOCUS OF CONTROL RECIPROCAL DETERMINISM
ATTRIBUTIONS & VALUES • ATTRIBUTION THEORY: • TYPES OF ATTRIBUTIONS • FUNCTIONS • FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR • Cultural and motivational factors • ACTOR-OBSERVER BIAS • ROOTS OF THESE BIASES • INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON ATTRIBUTIONAL PROCESSES: • LOCUS OF CONTROL • RECIPROCAL DETERMINISM • LOCUS, STABILITY AND CONTROLLABILITY • Emotional effects • ATTRIBUTIONAL STYLES • Pessimism, Optimism • Differentiating ‘optimism’ from ‘positive illusions’ • VALUES • Schwartz’s classification
ATTRIBUTION:- finding, giving, explaining the cause of events - very important type of cognition- influenced by beliefs about the social world (e.g., power of context vs. internal factors)
Whose fault? Whose merits? control, blame, fate, freedom …… Are we at the mercy of external forces or are the results of our actions under our own control?
How much do you tend to agree/disagree with these statements? There's no sense planning a lot - if something good is going to happen, it will. The really good things that happen to me are mostly luck. I am responsible for my own success. I can do just about anything I really set my mind to. Most of my problems are due to bad breaks. I have little control over the bad things that happen to me. My misfortunes are the result of mistakes I have made. I am responsible for my failures.
“ We take the stand that there are always some alternative constructions available to choose among in dealing with the world. No one needs to paint himself into a corner; no one needs to be completely hemmed in by circumstances; no one needs to be the victim of his biography. We call this philosophical position constructive alternativism.”George Kelly (1955). "A Theory of personality."
“Further, when you are powerless, you don’t just speak differently. A lot of you don’t speak. Your speech is not just differently articulated, it is silenced. Eliminated, gone. You aren’t just deprived of a language with which to articulate your distinctiveness, although you are; you are deprived of a life out of which articulation might come.” Catherine MacKinnon (1987). “Difference and Dominance”
ATTRIBUTION THEORY: • Studies the psychological processes behind how people ascribe causes to events (self and others). • Nisbett & Ross (1991). The person and the situation. • 2 TYPES OF ATTRIBUTIONS: • Internal/Personal (cause is within the actor: personality, mood, ability, effort, wishes) • External/Situational(cause is outside the actor: other people, luck, pressure, $$$, weather)
What functions do attributions serve? • help predict & control environment • help determine self/other thoughts, feelings, & behaviors • influence expectations for future • impact on own performance
When do we make attributions? • unexpected • e.g., driver runs a traffic light • negative • e.g., bad test grade • events with uncertain causes • e.g., date doesn’t call in weeks
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR (FAE) Tendency for people (in Western cultures) to underestimate situational influences & overestimate person influences on others’ behavior.
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR & CULTURE • Individualistic cultures focus on individual freedom, autonomy, & choice • fosters tendency to make person attributions (i.e., commit the FAE) • Collectivistic cultures focus on group memberships & conformity to group norms • fosters tendency to make situation attributions
Question for the class: What factors (philosophy, religion, politics, economy) could be behind these cultural differences between US/Northern Europe and the rest of the world? (Triandis, 1986)
U.S. Hong Kong FAE & CULTURELee, Hallahan, Herzog (1996) 2.60 Internal vs. External Attributions -.09 -1.22 -2.50 Sports LOW COMPLEXITY Editorials HIGH COMPLEXITY Type
FAE & MOTIVATIONLee & Hallahan (1998) Doctor Vignette .20 .18 Lawyer Vignette Situational Attributions .03 -.05 -.14 -.21 Pre-med Pre-law Neither Intended Career
ACTOR-OBSERVER BIAS (AOB) Tendency to attribute one’s own behavior to situational causes & others’ behavior to person causes.
Some Cognitive & Motivational Roots of FAE & AOB: Perceptual Salience • as observer, person doing behavior is most salient • as actor, situation is most salient People are Cognitive Misers • generally less effort to make IA than to search for possible Eas Self-Esteem Concerns • allow people to feel good about themselves or their groups People Seek a Coherent Understanding of the World • by making IAs of others’ behavior we impose stability their behavior & thus a sense of prediction & control
LOCUS OF CONTROL • (Rotter, 1966) • External Locus: describes people who believe that fate, luck, or outside forces are responsible for what happens to them. • Internal Locus:describes people who believe that ability, effort, or their own actions determine what happens to them. • Locus of control influences which forces we hold responsible for our successes and failures --> great influence on our motivation, expectations, self-esteem, risk-taking behavior, and even on the actual outcome of our actions. • ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE • HEALTH-RELATED BEHAVIOR • SOCIAL ACTIVISM
Illustrative Items from Rotter’s Internal-External Locus of Control Scale
ORIGINS AND DYNAMICS OF LOCUS OF CONTROL? (Bandura, 1977) 1 Beliefs affect behavior and environment 2 Behavior influences environment and beliefs 3 Environment influences behavior and beliefs
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF ACHIEVEMENT OUTCOMES ACCORDING TO LOCUS, STABILITY AND CONTROLLABILITY(Weiner, 1979)
Table 8.4:EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION Note: Only study this part of the table
ATTRIBUTIONAL STYLES (Peterson & Seligman, 1984) • Optimistic: Failure is attributed to external, unstable, and specific causes and success to internal, stable, global causes. • Pessimistic: Failure is attributed to internal, stable, global causes and success to external, unstable, and specific causes. • Is optimism always healthy? • Taylor & Brown (1988): “illusions of control and unrealistic optimism are associated with (+) mental health; realism may be a sign of depression” • Colvin & Block (1994): “need to differentiate between healthy optimism (viewing new, uncertain events in a positive light) from positive illusions (viewing events in a positive light even when facts don’t support that view) • Is pessimism always unhealthy? • ‘Defensive pessimism’ (Noren & Cantor, 1986)
Universalism Benevolence Tradition Self-direction Conformity Security Stimulation Power Hedonism Achievement VALUES (Schwartz, 1992) Self transcendence Openness to change Conservation Self enhancement