PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Fundamental Attribution Error, University Of Iowa Shooting, Kaiping
ProfessorElizabeth Page- Gould
sleep deprivation: we don’t notice, brain works overtime to see that you’re not. Sleep
goes a long way
Emblems: also language, but nonverbal. Gestures that have well-understood meaning
within a culture. Different gestures means different things in different cultures. Eg, ok
sign, peace sign. Emblems communicates a language. Peace sign in north America is
okay, but is offensive in Britain.
Power of Behavioural Input: “Thin Slices.” Approach within social psychology focused
on the attributional power of brief exposure to others. How we perceive somebody with a
very short duration of exposure.
How quickly can you detect someone’s socioeconomic status (SES) during a social
-basically your income and education level
-method (Kraus & Keltner (2009)): recorded people having social interaction. Took 30
second segments from these social interactions and showed to a subsequent set of
participants to see how much they can determine about someone’s SES.
Naive observers accurately detected parents’ income, mothers’ education, and
Relative to high SES participants, low SES participants spent less time: Grooming,
doodling, manipulating objects
Provides additional input for a particular behavior when we try to understand people
Can completely change attribution
Schemas: what you expect is what you get. Important to social interaction. When you
see somebody, you create a schema and expect what that person is going to do.
ATTRIBUTION: Explanation for an observed behaviour of another social object.
-if I see a behavior, to what factor am I going to attribute it to. We see a behavior, it can
be caused by a person or the environment or the situation they’re in.
How Automatic is Attribution?
Fundamental (?) Attribution Error
EASE OF ATTRIBUTION (Heider & Simmel (1944))
-we can attribute behaviors with minimal information
-we like to see patterns even when it doesn’t exist; pattern matching=attribution
Do we attribute behaviour to something about the person (“internal”) or something
about the situation (“external”) factor that had influence the person?
-Attributing a person’s behaviour to something intrinsic to that person
Personality, disposition, attitude, or character
-talking about who I think the person is. The person was the cause of this behavior
-Attributing a person’s behaviour to something about the situation in which the behaviour
Specifically not changing beliefs regarding person’s character or personality
-you’re not changing your belief of who the person is
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR, old and respected theory
-When perceiving others: Tendency to overestimate the influence of internal
causes for behaviour and underestimate external causes
-When perceiving self: Much more likely to attribute own behaviour to external
Jones & Harris (1967)
-brought people into lab. Told they were supposed to write an essay about pro-castro or
anti-castro. Then participants read one of two essays. Been told that half of people wrote
anti-castro essay and some had wrote a pro-castro essay. Some was assigned or some
-how much do we think this essay writer favored castro
Graph: y-axis, high number=pro-castro
-when told that essay writer had a choice in choosing their essay
PERCEPTUAL SALIENCE: Tendency to overestimate the causal role of information
that grabs our attention
TWO-STEP PROCESS OF ATTRIBUTION
-Same process as Anchoring & Adjustment Heuristic
1. Make an internal attribution
2. Attempt to adjust away from internal attribution by considering situational constraints
HOW FUNDAMENTAL IS THE FAE?
Recent Physics Ph.D. from University of Iowa
On 1991/11/01, he killed 4 faculty, 1 Ph.D. Student, and paralysed a student
-he expected that he should’ve won the dissertation award, but that went to the Ph. D
student he had just killed. He was angry about it.
-Morris & Peng (1994)
Method: Analysed Chinese- and English-language newspaper articles written about
Results: English newspapers attributed it to internal attributions, while Chinese
newpapers were significantly lower
-there was a similar situation that happened in Beijing where a man had killed a bunch of
people, Kai Ping Peng’s wife was best friends with the former fiancé of the murderer. He
went the next day to work and he told Dick Nisbit, his advisor at the time, what had
happened. His boss said that Peng must be relieved that the fiancé didn’t marry him
which shocked Peng because he felt that if she hadn’t broken up with him, he wouldn’t
have gone off into a murderous rampage.
CORRESPONDENCE BIAS: Tendency to infer that a person’s behaviour corresponds
to their disposition, personality, or attitude
-similar to fundamental attribution error but it’s called bias because it’s perceived to be a
perceptual bias tendency to infer that a person’s behaviour is a product of who they are
-we think of why people behave a certain way is because of their personality or who they
-distinction between it and FAE is we’re calling it a distinction bias, pretty similar to the
other biases or heuristics. FAE tries to talk about is there’s this behavior, how’re you
gonna explain it, but with correspondence bias, we just have this tendency to associate
behavior and internal characteristics
People are lay (amateur/non-professional) statisticians
-3 Factors of Attribution:
Consensus: Do other people behave in this way? Behaviour unique to person
Distinctiveness: Does this person behave like this with other stimuli? Behaviour unique
to situation. Let’s say you see professor joorden who teaches a class right before page-
gould come in and forgot his keys. Do other people behave this way and sometimes
forgets their keys? Does it with different stimulis.
Consistency: Does the person behave like this over time? Behaviour unique to this
moment in time
-he felt that people that covariance automatically in their minds. We do these statistical
things in our mind when we try to understand people’s behavior
-distinctiveness talks about similar types of situations but slightly different stimuli
whereas consistency do we see him forget his keys multiple times over a period of time