logo.gif (7779 bytes)

University of Washington

Web design by:   Dave Mathiesen   Home Page

Main Page

  Lecture Notes

    Section 1 (Brain)

    Section 2 (Mind)

    Section 3 (Development)

    Section 4 (Mental Illness)

  Study Guides
    Section 1

    Section 2

    Section 3
    Section 4
  Tests
    Sample Exam
  Online Resources
    Textbook Homepage 
    Hotlinks 
    PsychInfo
    Measure Your Prejudice
  About the Class
    Office hours
    Syllabus
    Study Habits
    Extra Credit
  PowerPoint Slides
    Intro
    Neurotransmission
    Brain Imaging
    Representation/Reality
    Operant Conditioning
    Eye Witnesses
    Heuristics
    Stanford Prison Study
    Attribution Theory
    Groupthink
    Moral Reasoning & Parenting
    Freud
    Rhythms
    Drugs
    Depression
    Bipolar Disorder Genetics
    Schizophrenia
    Dissociative Disorders
    Therapy
    Stress
Contact
1pixffcc33.gif (43 bytes)

Updated: Monday, April 12, 1999 10:50:18 AM

Schemas & Just world Belief Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
Sensory Memory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory
Confidence and Memory Heuristics Attribution
Norms Social Influence & Obedience All Notes in one view

Section 2: Attribution

Social psychology – is the scientific study of individual behavior as a function of social stimuli.

Some areas of interest are
attitudes and attitude change, person perception, the self interpersonal attraction, altruism, aggression and social influence.
Attribution theory

Attributions are the reasons we give for our own or others’ behavior.
Example: You see an athlete advertise a camera on TV.
Why are they using the camera?

 

Festinger (1959)

One of his research projects involved hiring people to do a very boring task.  Research participants were paid either $1 or $20.  All were given the same boring task.  Later all subjects were asked how they liked doing the task.

Which group of subjects liked the task more? The $20 group or the $1 group?

Surprisingly the subjects who were paid the $1 liked the task more.  This result can be explained by attribution theory.  Participants who were paid $20 found it easy to think of a reason why they did the task  - they were paid good money to do it. On the other hand, participants given only $1 thought that they must have liked the task since the money was so low. Otherwise why else would they have done it?


There are 2 kinds of attributions:

Dispositional: We judge that a person does something because of who he or she is (the athlete likes the camera.)

Situational: A person does something because of his or her situation (she wants the money).


The Fundamental Attribution Error

We overestimate the power of the person and underestimate the power of the situation.
The availability heuristic may explain why this error occurs.

We tend to make dispositional attributions for others and situational attributions for ourselves.

IF you did bad on a test…

You are likely to emphasize the situation. For example, the test was a poor test, or that you did not get enough sleep the night before the test.

If someone else did bad on a test

You are likely to blame the disposition of the person. For example, they aren't really all that smart.

The more distant we are from the person the more likely we are to make dispositional attributions.  And the opposite is true, the closer we are to the person the more likely we are to understand the situation.
Biases – Political

Liberals - (situational attributions)
    believe that there are possible extenuating circumstances

Conservatives - (Dispositional attribution)
    believe that the result is because on the personality of the individual.

By altering actors and observers perspectives through videotape replays, mirrors, or other methods, one can correspondingly alter actors’ and observer’s causal assessments."
        Human inference
        Nisbett & Ross 1980

See the section concluding Heuristics, about Rodney King, on an example of changing attribution by changing availability.


 

 

 

 

Copyright Notification - 1999 Davem.Com - Important
All information in these pages is copyrighted, and soul intention is that of a study guide and general reference for the University of Washington Summer Quarter Psychology 101 Class instructed by Dr. Leonesio.  Any information herein used in any second or third party documentation with out consent of David Mathiesen is strictly prohibited.  Violation this notice is in turn a direct violation of federal law, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  If you wish to use any information please contact David Mathiesen with a detailed description as to how the information is to be used.