S.P. Ch. 2
Terms in this set (20)
Describe the nature of Attribution Theories
Theories that describe how people explain the causes of others' (or their own) behavior
We want to know the causes of behavior
Causal conclusions are not random
Attributions influence subsequent emotions and behaviors
What is the Lewinian Equation?
Behavior is the combination of the situation and the person's predispositions
B = S + D
Explain Heider's Attribution Thoery
Heider (1958) believed that people are naive psychologists trying to make sense of the social world. People tend to see cause and effect relationships, even where there is none!
1. Internal Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behavior to some internal characteristic, rather than to outside forces. When we explain the behavior of others we look for enduring internal attributions, such as personality traits. For example, we attribute the behavior of a person to their personality, motives or beliefs.
2. External Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behavior to some situation or event outside a person's control rather than to some internal characteristic. When we try to explain our own behavior we tend to make external attributions, such as situational or environment features.
Explain Kelley's Covariation Model
People consider multiple pieces of information when they make an attribution
Examine pattern between presence/absence of possible causes and whether or not the behavior occurs
3 types of information considered:
Example: Im probably thinking about that same person in different situations, past behavior, instead of thinking of this one specific behavior in a vacuum (past experiences can help understand current behavior)
Explain a person's consistency
Does this person usually behave this way in this situation?
High consistency = person usually behaves this way (internal attribution)
Low consistency = person usually does not behave this way (external attribution)
Example: For example, Kyle is late to work. As the boss, it is important to consider this instance. "Is Kyle usually late to work?" If he is usually on time, then you should consider external stimuli (traffic, car)
IF it is the 20th time he comes in late, then it is Kyle.
How does this person act in different situations?
Low distinctiveness = behavior is stable across situations
High distinctiveness = behavior is unstable across situations
How do other people behave in the same situation?
High consensus = others behave the same way
Low consensus = others do not behave the same way
Example: If everyone was late to work today, then maybe it is an external thing. If Kyle was not the only one late to work, then maybe there was bad traffic, or the weather was bad
Explain some biases/ errors in the attribution process
Early attribution theories assumed people
spend time thinking about their attributions
process information rationally
Are people always careful thinkers?
systematic errors in our attributions occur
Example: Errors are not random, people tend to make the same type of errors (people default to internal attributions and not external attributions). People have a certain tendency that leads in one direction, and therefore people make biases
What is the Fundamental Attribution error?
overestimate dispositional causes of behavior
and underestimate situational causes of behavior. Also called correspondence bias.
Example: When we encounter a rude person, we still think they are rude and don't take into account that maybe they are having a bad or other factors
Explain the three-step attribution process
1: Identify behavior
2: Make dispositional attribution
3: Adjust that attribution by considering the situation
Step 3 only occurs when we have adequate time, motivation, and energy
Tendency to attribute our own behavior to situational causes and the behavior of others to dispositional causes
Observers make more dispositional attributions
Actors make more situational attributions
Describe social cognition as a dual-process
We have a combination of rational (controlled/systematic) thinking and experiential (automatic/heuristic) thinking.
Rational: emotion-free, more effortful, analytic
Experiential: image-based, emotion-based, less effortful
The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema
accessibility= the ease with which we can bring something to mind
Priming can occur: quickly, unintentionally , unconsciously
Explain schemas and memory
Schemas direct our attention
Schemas bias our encoding of information
We have greater recall of schema-related information
We use schemas to reconstruct our past experiences
What are heuristics?
Mental shortcuts that people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently
Why do we use them?
They're quick and efficient
Usually lead to reasonable decisions
Explain representativeness heuristic
We tend to make a decision on how well one particular instance represents the schema / when we do this we tend to ignore base-rate information (the actual statistics, there are very few trapeze artists, so it is unlikely)
Should base the info on legitimate statistic probabilities (but most people do not)
What is availability heuristic?
The tendency to base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind
Actual frequencies are not the only thing that influences what comes to mind (Media/ Our interests, traits, occupations, etc./ Recent events)
The availability of something to come to mind, and you make the judgement on the availability of examples (sometimes this is incorrect because it is a quick thing)
Explain anchoring and adjustment heuristic
A process in which people make an estimate of some value by starting from an initial value (an anchor) and adjusting from there
Adjustment is often insufficient
The anchor can be completely arbitrary
The initial estimate becomes an anchor (held back by the starting point)
Explain heuristics in a nutshell
People tend to make systematic errors in their social thinking (including attributions)
BUT, we still manage to function very well most of the time
The shortcuts we take are not only often necessary but also adaptive
Experiential/automatic processing may be the default, but when we have the time, energy, ability, and motivation, we are capable of rational/controlled processing
What did Bargh et al find due to priming?
People in the rude priming condition would interrupt faster than the neutral, and that the polite people would wait longer to interrupt the confederate
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