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Lecture 19

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McGill University
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

PSYCH 215 Lecture Oct 19 Attribution Theory (Heider, row boat) (All on note from Oct 17) Raw behavior = starting point for analysis of each other, we are mini scientists. What caused the behavior? Once we figure we know cause, we understand it and know what to do with it. We are limited in time and space.  Understanding = CAUSE  Possible causes o Internal/ external o Stable/ unstable  Choosing a cause o Rational- scientific analysis o Process of elimination o Behaving according to social norms? o How do they behave in other situations? o Self-serving – need that drives us in interactions o Helps categorize world for us o We need to have perceptions that protect our ego o We like and need to feel good about ourselves o Feeling confident is important for success o Whether defined as getting along (with others intimately, as friends colleges partners ect) or getting ahead (career, job, school) o Anything that takes away doesn’t feel good o You and I when choosing cause we focus on cause that makes us look good o Unless overwhelming evidence for the opposite o Ex. Midterm successful results- prof thinks he’s the cause, protects ego or midterm results poor- what do I do about such poor students? Students= cause, both ways prof’s ego is protected o Accurate for good guide but also want to protect ego o 2 competing casual analysis occurring simultaneously, one can discount the other o surfaces- ex. Young women says that relationship went down the toilet, what a loser- thought it was going to work but I’m glad its over  after 5 reminders you would think young women would say if I look at behavior over time I might have to come to the causal conclusion that I AM THE CAUSE that these relationships aren’t working  but this isn’t good for the ego  we all have heard of people like this- but cant they see the reality? They can never do take the blame  it s dysfunctional, person doesn’t adjust behavior  for a day I wont be rational- but after can think I really could have behaved better in this relationship, I don’t just blame them come to conclusions about myself that will lead me to be better in the future o self serving/ ego protectors that dominate every analysis is not functional o most people are ego protective or self-serving but there are some who are the opposite chronically depressed? o As their caring friend try to get them out of “funk” by reminding them no you’re not a loser, good things have happened depressed person, no matter how real and positive data is “yes but that just happened by luck”  Re-interpret causes of event  Depressed causal attributions are as dysfunctional- re-direct, just as bad as always ego protecting  Difficult to get ego protector to blame self, difficult to get depressed to stop blaming self  When depressed is not loser by any means- friends or therapists are frustrated, any data will not move people o Ex. A guy lives in montreal and he parks car on a hill, and does all the right things, put wheels towards curb, hand break on, goes into dep- car rolls down the hill, no driver:  1) down hill through intersection missing cars going the other way, over hedge into a tree and leaves huge dent  2) down hill gets into intersection and smashes right into another car. It is totally wrecked.  3) down hill just as approaching intersection, hits an old lady with cane.  To what extent was the accident caused by the driver?  Smacks into car and really damages, yes kind of at fault, smacks old lady= guy is the cause  Say he’s not at fault for old lady he did all the right things, so we say because we would not want to be blamed if in that situation  The more you can identify with person and situation, the more we don’t see person as cause  If person does something that distances them from me, fails to put break on, they ARE the cause  Subtle ways that we protect ego when we can relate, not just about it being OUR fault  Mini-scientists at work o Who wants to teach kindergarten o Holding job interviews: do you like children? Yes I love them. Do you believe candidate? I don’t disbelief them, but of course person will say they love kids. o If they say, I don’t mind them but I don’t like them all that much: that person is telling the truth and 2) I don’t want them to teach kindergarten in my school. o Don’t know the cause for saying they love kids 1) they really like kids or 2) I have to say that for external reasons, want the job o Say I don’t like kids- must be true and real, not influenced by external causes o Looking for people to join submarine crew, one year under polar ice cap with same 30 people: do you like other people?  Yes I like to be with others- real person, what’s causing them to say this. If they want to be on submarine, they have to say this.  I cant stand other people, I like to be alone- don’t want on team, or confident that they are telling truth  For them to say they like to be alone when job requires them to be with others, aren’t saying it for external reasons  External- looking for astronauts who by themselves must circle world for a year o Interview for causal analysis to give insight o When answer for external causes, i.e. job requirement can’t do causal analysis, ambiguous, interactions don’t give us informatio
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