PSYC 2606 Study Guide - Comprehensive Midterm Guide: Dispositional Attribution, Fundamental Attribution Error, Representativeness Heuristic

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PSYC 2606
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Marlee Lederer
Lecture 4: Attribution
Attribution → how we infer the causes of observed behavior
“An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior”
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1416950?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Design → manipulation
1 experiment w/ 3 different conditions
Condition I → Write down what happened
Condition II → Write down the movement in terms of the geometric
shapes being humans
Condition III → Video is shown in reverse
The outcome measured is:
What happened in the film?
Various questions about the instructions and characters.
Results → there was only one person that described the film in terms of
shape movement and not human characteristics/behavior.
Observations from film:
Looks like the two triangles are fighting with each other to get back into
the rectangle while the circle enters the rectangle.
Although the moving figures in this film are geometric shapes, their
movements seem to give them character and animate them.
Implications of Study
We anthropomorphize nearly everything
We are driven to understand “why”
We infer intentions (fighting, happy, sad, scared, etc.) which is what
attribution is all about.
We are driven to see internal reasons.
Pervasive human tendency to see human movements when they aren’t
there.
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One of the key manipulations are the change in the instructions given to
the subjects.
An Evolved Motivation
The [evolved] need for causal understanding
Accurate prediction allows one to more easily
Get rewards
Food
Sex
Social Interaction
Avoid punishments
Predation
Attack
Ostracism
Note: The scientific enterprise…
Learned helplessness → when you decide you cannot predict the world
at all. Has social consequences such as withdrawal and giving up.
Video → CNN: Model Falls Twice on Runway
What caused the model’s behavior?
Nervousness
Tall shoes and narrow skirt
What caused the news reporter’s behavior?
He is an asshole
It is a common social response to laugh at the video
Types of Attributions
Dispositional → behavior caused by an internal factor (e.g., personality)
Situational → behavior caused by an external factor (e.g., situation)
Heider’s (1958) Attribution Theory
Contrast between personality and social psychology
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