Sept 25.docx

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September 25th, 2012
Attitudes and Attribution Across Cultures
Making Attributions in Intercultural Interactions
Patricia why she was involved in the bank robbery
No matter what attributions, there are errors involved
Difficult within our own culture
Even more complex when talking about people in a different culture
Types of explanations:
o Ability internal
o Task difficulty external
o Effort
o Luck
Cultures differ in which one of these are likely to be used and emphasized
o Use different explanations for success and failure
If you succeed, you find the reason within yourself
o If you fail, you find the reasons out of yourself (ie. The prof had an accent)
Making Attributions in Intercultural Interactions
Isomorphic attribution (Triandis, 1977)
If you meet a samari and he asks if he can sleep with you, it is a showing of trust because he is
willing to sleep in the same room with you
o Communication breakdown to our society
Cultural Style of Attribution
In individualistic cultures people tend to focus on the individual as determining the cause of
o People attribute success to ability and failure to external factors
In collectivistic cultures people tend to give greater emphasis to external causes of individual
o People attribute success to help from others and failure to the lack of effort
Lack of effort is in one persons control, it is an adaptive way of dealing with
failure. The next time you will work harder because it is in your control
Must Thank the Country!
Zhou Yang, 18, receive Gold medal in the women’s 1500 meters short-track speed skating in
Vanouver winter Olympic (2010)
o Was criticized later for not thanking the country, because the country in the first place put
her in that position
Fundamental Attribution Error
Is it possible that the fundamental attribution error is a uniquely western phenomenon?
There are cultural differences
Over emphasize personality and underplaying the situation factors
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Joan Miller (1984)
o Participants: American and asian Indians of varying ages
o They had to describe the cause of actions they had observed in their lives
o What caused some of your success and some of your failures
At age 8 there is no significant difference between internal and external
As they become older, Americans are more likely to engage in internal
Indian are more external attribution
We learn this through our culture, it teaches us when and how to engage
in things
o Attribution: a gradual socialization in our culture
Masuda & Nisbett’s Study (2001)
Picture of blue and yellow fish swimming picture flashed before us
Show it to Japanese and American students for very short time, they had to describe what they
o No difference when it comes to the focal image of the aspect
o Japanese started to describe the background of the picture, a more holistic report of the
image, start to describe the image as a whole and then start to focus on the fish
o Americans: report the main message of the picture, refer to the main fish and continue to
the background slowly
o Both American and Japanese college students recalled details about the focal fish to a
nearly equal extent
o Japanese students, however reported more details about the supporting cast in the
Other picture
o Americans: stripy fish is the leader
o Japanese: a fish that is being chased by another group of fish
o Both are descriptive in different ways
Bicultural Identity
How bicultural individuals make attributions for human behaviour?
o Chinese Americans, born in china but live in the states
o Shown the fish image (other fish following stripy fish)
o Showed half of the people American images (Halloween, thanksgiving)
More likely to say that the fish is the leader, more individual
o Showed other half Chinese images (Chinese new year, etc)
More likely to say that the fish is being chased by other fish
o Depending what image they see before they make decisions prompts them
o Results:
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