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Chapter 5

Social Psychology Chapter 5 Summary.docx

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PSYC 215
John Lydon

Social Psychology Chapter 5 Summary - We tend to place causal attribution to the properties of the actor, especially distinctive ones like Bill Gates instead of what has occurred to him - The actor is more inclined to view it as a situational force that got him to where he is - Attribution theory: theoretical accounts as to how people assign causes to the events around them and the effects that people’s casual assessments have - Causal attribution: process people use to explain both their own and other’s behaviour through linking an event to a cause like asserting that a personality trait is the cause for behaviour The Pervasiveness and Importance of Causal Attribution - We try to find a reason behind almost anything; why’d I do badly on that test? Why doesn’t he like me? Etc. etc. we don’t necessarily take things at face value but delve into causal attribution - The different conclusions we draw creates different reactions for us; if he doesn’t like you b/c he thinks you’re fat you would feel bad about yourself but if he doesn’t like you b/c he likes you as a friend you might feel a bit better Explanatory Style and Attribution - Explanatory style: the habitual way a person explains events. Assessed along 3 dimensions: internal/external; stable/unstable; global/ specific - Internal vs. external: whether you blame yourself or your situation - Stable vs. unstable: whether the cause will stay this way forever or change - Global vs. specific: whether the cause is present in other parts of your life or just this one aspect - Those prone to say internal, stable and global were associated with pessimism which led to poorer grades and poorer long term health than those who said the opposite Attributions and Controllability - If we view the cause of something as controllable, we are more prone to try and find a new strategy - For ex: if we view a failure at a math test as something controllable and nothing to do with our natural ability, we can just try harder and persevere next time - Realizing that something is within control can unleash a hope and raises the likelihood of success next time Gender and Attribution Style - Boys learn praise means they have ability and failure means lack of effort - Girls learn that praise means they made an effort and failure means lack of ability - Explains why boys will boast about success and dismiss failures while girls are the opposite The Process of Causal Attribution - Causal attribution follows a set of rules and help us understand the past, illuminate the present and predict the future - Only when we understand the cause can we understand what happened and anticipate what will happen next - Our perception of how much control someone has over a problem forms a judgement that involves more pity and forgiveness than someone who was in control - If the cause is rooted in within or outside of someone (internal vs. situational) it gives us different opinions - Figuring out whether it is internal or external causes relies upon finding out what the person is like and what they are likely to do Attribution and Co-variation - Co-variation principle: idea that behaviour should be attributed to potential causes that co- occur with the behaviour - 3 types of co-variation information that are particularly important: consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency - Consensus: what most would do in a given situation; the more people like it (consensus is high) the less it has to do with the individual and more with the situation - Distinctiveness: what an individual does in different situations; more someone’s reaction is confined to a particular situation (distinctiveness is high), the less it is about the individual and more about the specific situation - Consistency: what an individual does for a given situation on different occasions; the more an individual’s reaction is specific to a given occasion of a given situation or event (consistency is low) the harder it is to make an attribution to person or to situation - Situational attribution: when all 3 are high; everyone likes it, the individual raves about it and not others like it, and they rave about it constantly= the situation is favourable - Dispositional attribution: when consensus and distinctiveness are low but consistency is high means that it’s attributed to the person; when no one else likes it, when that person raves about everything and when that person consistently raves about that thing Attribution and Imagining Alternative Actions and Outcomes - When we imagine if a different actor was put in place, a different outcome would have taken place thus the outcome was a reflection of the actor not the situation The Discounting and Augmentation Principles - Discounting principle: idea that people should assign reduced weight to a particular cause of behaviour if other plausible causes may have produced it - If we know that there are other plausible causes it undermines the confidence of our answers - Augmentation principle: idea that people should assign greater weight to a particular cause of behaviour if other causes are present that normally would produce the opposite outcome - For ex: if someone advocates for something risking punishment we know that they truly believe in that position The Influence of What Almost Happened - Wonder if circumstances were a little different if outcome would have changed - Counterfactual thoughts: thoughts of what could’ve, should’ve, would’ve happened if things were a bit different - Attributions are affected by what happened and also counterfactual thoughts - If no matter what choice the outcome would remain the same, the actor would have less causal weight Emotional Effects of Counterfactual Thinking - Emotional amplification: a raising of emotional reaction to an event that is proportional to how easy it is to imagine the event not happening; emotional reaction tends to be more if the event almost didn’t happen - The influence of almost made it makes something much more emotionally impacting just because they were so close The Influence of Exceptions versus Routines - Exceptions cause more of an emotional reaction than routines - If a man gets robbed in a store he routinely goes to, it warrants a lower compensation than a man getting robbed in a store he went to just that one time - We overestimate how much a change of heart affects a situation Errors and Biases in Attribution - Hopes and fears colour our judgement; misled by info etc.
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