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Lecture

PSYC 2310 Lecture Notes - Patty Hearst, Fundamental Attribution Error, Neon Sign


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2310
Professor
Saba Safdar

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January 17, 2013 PSYCH2310 LECTURE - SAFDAR, S.
Attribution
ANSWERING THE ‘WHY’ QUESTION
- the difficult case of Patricia Hearst
- two viable interpretations:
o her behaviour is primarily a function of situation
o her behaviour is primarily a function of personal disposition
THE LOGIC OF ATTRIBUTION
- the attributional equation or the Lewinian equation:
o BEHAVIOUR = SITUATION + DISPOSITION
- To answer the question “Did Patty Hearst have a disposition to rob the
bank?” rearrange the equation:
o D = B S
DECISION RULE
- discounting principle:
o the observer should not conclude that a person had a unique
disposition to behave when the person does exactly what the situation
pushes him or her to do.
o The observer should conclude that a person has a unique disposition
to behave when:
The person does the opposite of what the situation pushes him
or her to do
There is no situational push at all
THE CORRESPONDENCE BIAS
- correspondence bias or fundamental attribution error:
o tendency to correspond a person’s behaviour to personal disposition
when the behaviour can be attributed to the situation
o eg. waitress: what do you want?
Is the waitress having a bad day or is she a bitch?
Our fundamental attribution error is our first judgment, which
is that we think she is a bitch.
WANTING DISPOSITIONS
- correspondence bias gives a sense of control through:
o dispositionist worldview
o prediction of others’ behaviour
MISUNDERSTANDING SITUATIONS
- correspondence bias creates a tendency to underestimate situational power
because:
o situations are often invisible
eg. father tells daughter if she pierces tongue he will disinherit
her. She goes to shopping mall and passes neon sign that says
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