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CH10 - Weiner summary .doc

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Jason Plaks

An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion Weiner, part 1 Intro  Bernard Weiner advocates that emotions are output of a complex cognitive process—especially socializing/human emotions such as guilt and pride - Step 1: mind evaluates the event broadly (i.e. was it good or bad) - step 2: what was the cause? Causal analysis  Weiner suggested that cause can be summed up by three dimensions: locus, stability, and controllability  Locus: internal or external factor?, stability: can this condition change? Controllability: can I change the causes?  Attributions about the causes of events affect predispositions for future behaviour  Ex. If failed test and think it’s due to lack of studying = internal/unstable/controllable = likely to study hard next time because has power over outcome and good chance of success since the cause is changeable  If conditions/causes expected to remain the same, a success would lead to greater likelihood of repeating behaviour, while failure would deter repition.  Dweck believes that people assign stable vs. unstable attributions based on their beliefs of the nature of constructs such as ability, effort, and luck (ex. Is luck a personality trait or external fluctuation?)  People constantly in pursuit of answer to “why?” for the causes of outcomes  Knowledge facilitates mastery of environment Structure of perceived causality  Why study? To determine difference between different attributions and thus effect on behaviour Logical analysis of causal structure  Several psychologists analyzed causal structure  Fritz Heider first proposed that an outcome is felt to depend on two sets of conditions; “factors within the person, and factors within the environment”, he is a pioneer of the attributional approach in psychology  Then Rotter’s work on the internal-external locus dimension dominated causal structure theory  Then Weiner argued that besides the locus dimension, causal structure also includes a stability-instability dimension; some factors may vary with time while others are unchanging (ex. Effort versus aptitude); ability=internal/stable, effort=internal/unstable, task difficulty=external/stable, luck=external/unstable  However his 4 main classifications of cause do not make good sense—some people may think luck is a stable trait of the person, for example  Rosenbaum recognised the third dimension because some internal/stable causes still differed somehow—some are under volitional control  Fatigue is stable and uncontrollable, for example, while effort is under the person’s will to exert  Rotter’s internal/external dimension not sufficient to explain, so all three insights used in the proposed theory of the causal structure Motivational Dynamics of Perceived Causality: Expectancy Change  Expectancy and value help understand action tendencies  Goal expectancy is a reoccurring theme in motivational theory; link to attributional theory?  Heider: goal expectancy determined by perceived ability and planned effort relative to difficulty of task  Tolman and Rotter propose that expectancy is determined by the frequency of reinforcement for the action that leads to an outcome or a person’s beliefs about reinforcement of the action across situation, context, and individual  Atkinson : reinforcement as well as competitors and communications from others about likelihood of success Investigations of expectancy change  three psychological literatures are directly related to changes in goal expectancies 1. level of aspirations 2. effects of outcomes on chance tasks on probabilities of future success 3. resistance to extinction and beliefs about locus of control  Studies on goal expectancy are achievement-related Level of aspiration  Subsequent aspiration level is partly dependant on prior outcome: if success = aspiration level rises, if failure to reach aspiration level = it decreases – known as typical aspiration shifts  Since expectancy assumed to be reflected by aspiration level—expectancy rises with success etc.  Sometimes atypical aspiration shifts occur: ie. Lower level after success Social learning theory integration  How to integrate both typical and atypical shifts in attributional theory?  Expectancy change proposed to be influenced by perceived locus of control of outcome: internal causality causes typical shifts, while external factors produce atypical shifts Attributonal approach to expectancy change  Weiner believes stability of the causes, as well as locus of control, determine the shifts—esp. stability of the causes, whether they remain the same or not  If conditions thought to be stable/remain the same, then the same outcome is expected to occur the next time—so if successful outcome, will do it again, if bad outcome, not do it again; whereas if unstable cause, may do it again after failure—ex. Failing test due to lack of effort/study— study is unstable factor, therefore try again but study harder = typical shift; winning a gamble may mean you were lucky that time, therefore, do not try again because it is unstable and external = atypical shift Summary and conclusions  Causal stability linked to expectancy of success  Phenotypically dissimilar failures may be explained by the same genotype of causality  If unstable causes after failure; still hope for future outcomes  Expectancy principle: “changes in expectancy of success following an outcome are influences by the perceived stability of cause of event”  Corollary 1: if outcome associated with stable cause, outcome has increased expectancy  Corollary 2: if outcome associated to unstable cause; then certainty or expectancy of outcome either remains the same or expected to change  Corollary 3: greater degree of certainty for outcomes due to stable versus unstable causes Motivational Dynamics of Perceived Causality- Affective Reactions The attribution-emotion process  this section offers an attributional view of the emtion process and to propose and document laws that connect attributional thinking and specific feelings.  Most emotion theorists with a cognitive view perceiv
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