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Oct 26 - attribution theory continued.doc

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University of Alberta
Physical Education and Sport
John Dunn

Oct 26 – Attribution Theory Continued Why are attribution classifications important? • Attributions affect expectancy values for future success  Which may affect motivation (ex. Effort) on a similar task in the future Habitual Attribution Patterns (“explanatory styles”) Attributions Following Failure  Pessimistic explanatory style (global... across domains) ... tendency to habitually attribute failure (across domains) to internal-stable- uncontrollable factors (ex. Ability, traits) or external stable-uncontrollable factors (ex. Coach’s playing-strategy philosophy)  Sense of “learned helplessness” – athlete thinks there is nothing they can do to change the circumstance  If you constantly blame failure on things you cannot change, whats the point of showing up “I lost because im not good enough” (internal) “I lost because I don't have enough ability” (internal) “we cant win with that strategy” (external.. coach)  Mind set (mental outlook): “whats the point of even trying. Nothing I do will change the outcome (destined to fail)”  Ex. Charlie Brown – pessimistic outlook and thinks his life is just failure after failure Optimistic Explanatory Style (global.. across domains) • Habitually attribute failure (across domains) to external – unstable factors (ex. Bad luck/weather) or internal – unstable factors (ex. Personal effort – was my focus where it needed to be)  Mind set (motivational outlook): “future failure isn’t inevitable against same opponent (or different opponent with same ability) because these unstable factors will change in my favour (sense of hope/optimist is present)  .. motivated to keep trying in the future The most functional failure attribution (in terms of future motivation) occurs when the attribution is directed towards unstable – controllable factors (ex. Personal effort, mental prep, lack of focus, etc.) Research example – Martin Seligman He was considered a leader in the movement of positive psychology. Purpose: examine how 33 intercollegiate swimmers attributional styles affected
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