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Class 5 - Attitudes & Attributions Across Culture.doc

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Attitudes & Attribution Across Cultures Making Attributions in Intercultural Interactions Types of explanations: 1) Ability; internal attribution (I did well because I am good at this subject) 2) Task difficulty; external (I did well because the exam wasn’t very hard) 3) Effort; internal & unstable (I did well because I studied a lot) 4) Luck; external & unstable (I did well because I got lucky) - Cultures tend to use different explanations for success & failure Isomorphic attribution (Triandis, 1977)  When there is no breakdown of terms of the same attribution (e.g. if a samerai says I want to sleep with you, it doesn’t mean sex) Cultural Style of Attribution - In individualistic cultures people tend to focus on the individual as determining the cause of behaviour.  People attribute success to ability & failure to external factors. - In collectivistic cultures people tend to give greater emphasis to external causes of individual behaviour.  People attribute success to help from others & failure to lack of effort. Fundamental Attribution Error - Is it possible that the fundamental attribution error is a uniquely western phenomenon? - Miller (1984)  Participants: American & Asian Indians of varying ages  They had to describe the cause of actions they had observed in their lives  At age 8 – no significant difference between American & Indian in internal attribution, but as age increases, Americans attribute more to internal  External attribution – Americans attribute less to external as age increases Masuda & Nisbett’s Study (2001) Results: - Japanese & Americans recal details about the focal fish to a nearly equal extent - Japanese remember more details about the small fish, the background, the corals, etc. Bicultural Identity - Individuals who were born in one culture (collectivistic) & then live in individualistic culture - How bicultural indiviuals make attributions for human behaviour  Make more situational attribution for Chinese images RESULTS: - Those with bicultural identity made more situational attribution when Chinese images were presented & less situational attribution when American images were given - Conclusion: Social perceptions are fluid & depend on which culture is brought to mind. Self-Serving Attributions - The tendency of explaining one’s succe
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