PSYC 360 Lecture 4: Social Psych - 7 Feb

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8 Feb 2017
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7 February 2017
Nature of the attribution process
We tend to make internal attributions for other people’s behavior.
Why? Perceptually, we focus on people and overlook the situation (external explanation)
Hard to see
Difficult to describe
Kelly’s theory:
Wanted to be able to answer when people are going to make internal vs. external attribution
A theory that states that to form an attribution about what caused a person’s behavior, we
systematically note the pattern between the presence or absence of possible causal factors and
whether or not the behavior occurs.
Kelly’s Co-variation model focuses on how behavior co-varies
Across time, place, actors, and targets
Examines how perceiver chooses an internal or an external attribution
1. Consensus the extent to which other people behave the same way toward the same
stimulus as the actor does (if more people are late we are more likely to conclude it is
an external reason)
2. Distinctiveness the extent to which one particular actor behaves in the same way to
different stimuli (getting upset with strangers)
3. Consistency the extent to which the behavior between one actor and one stimulus is
the same across time and circumstances. (if someone makes plans with you and
breaks them; once or every time)
Internal attribution:
Occurs when consensus is low and behavior is unique to one person
Distinctiveness is low, persona displays same behavior with different targets and in different
situations
Consistency is high, the person’s behavior occurs reliably across occasions and the person is
consistently late for class (class is the occasion)
External attribution:
Occurs when consensus is high, other people behave similarly in the same situation (if
everyone is late for class)
Distinctiveness is high, the person’s behavior is specific to that situation or target and the
person is not normally late for his or her plans
Consistency is high, the person’s behavior occurs reliable across occasions and the person is
not normally late for class
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