attribution theory
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When are people likely to make an internal attribution?When the consensus and distinctiveness of the act are low, but its consistency is highWhen are people likely to make an external attribution?If consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency are all highWhat happens when consistency information is low?We cannot make a clear internal or external attribution, so we resort to a special kind of external or situational attribution, one that assumes something unusual or peculiar is going on in these circumstancesMore covariation modelpeople observe that clues about consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency and then draw a logical inference about why the person did what he or she did. People don't use consensus information as much as Kelley's theory predicted; they rely more on consistency and distinctiveness when forming attributions. People proceed with the attribution process if it is a new situation with the information they do have and, if necessary, make guesses about the missing data.Fundamental attribution error aka the correspondence biasThe tendency to overestimate the extent to which people's behavior is due to internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of situational factorsfundamental attribution error classic studyeven when people knew that the author's choice of an essay topic was externally caused (i.e., in the no-choice condition), they assumed that what he wrote reflected how he really felt about Castro. They made an internal attribution from his behavior. Even when the influence of the situation on behavior is obvious, people persist in making internal attributions.the role of perceptual salience in the fundamental attribution errorwhen we try to explain someone's behavior, our focus of attention is usually on the person, not on the surrounding situation. the situational causes of another person's behavior are practically invisible to us. although the situation may be close to invisible, the individual is "perceptually prominent" - our eyes and ears notice people, and what we notice seems like the reasonable and logical cause of the observed behavior.perceptual saliencethe seeming importance of information that is the focus of people's attentiontaylor and fiske perceptual salience studyparticipants rated each actor's impact on the conversation. researchers found that people rated the actor they could see more clearly as having the larger role in the conversation.Two-step attribution processanalyzing another person's behavior first by making an automatic internal attribution and only then thinking about possible situational reasons for the behavior, after which one may adjust the original internal attribution. when we are distracted or preoccupied we often skip the second step altogether, making an internal attribution in the extreme. Our tendency to spontaneously consider the internal, mental states of actors often leaves us less likely to think later about potential situational explanations for their actions.self-serving attributionsexplanations for one's successes that credit internal, dispositional factors and explanations for one's failures that blame external, situational factors. losses are more likely to be attributed to external causes, outside of the team's control. if we believe we can improve, we're more likely to attribute our current failure to internal causes and then work on improving.belief in a just worldLerner created a form of defensive attribution wherein people assume that bad things happen to bad people and that good things happen to good peoplebias blind spotthe tendency to think that other people are more susceptible to attributional biases in their thinking than we areperceived susceptibility to attributional biases for self and the average americanresearch participants rated their own susceptibility to two attributional biases and that of the "average American." they believed that others were significantly more likely to engage in biased thinking than they themselves were.culture and social perceptionamerican and some other western cultures stress individual autonomy, while east asian cultures tend to stress group autonomy. people in individualist cultures prefer dispositional attributions about others, relative to people in collectivist cultures, who prefer situational attributions.