point, and then, using your schema, create a much fuller understanding of
what a person is like.
-Even though nonverbal communication is sometimes easy to decode and
implicit personality theories can streamline the way we form impressions, there is
still substantial ambiguity as to what a person’s behaviour really means.
- a description of the way in which people explain the causes of their own
and other people’s behaviour
- What people are really like and what motivates them to act as they do.
- When trying to decide why people behave as they do, we can make one of
1) Internal Attribution- inference that a person is behaving in a certain way
because of someone about him or her, such as his or her attitude,
character, or personality. Dividing that the cause of a person’s behaviour
was something about him-his disposition, personality, attitudes or
character, is an explanation that assigns the causes of his behaviour
2) External Attribution- the inference that a person is behaving a certain way
because of something about the situation he or she is in; the assumption
is that most people would respond the same way in that situation. Its
deciding that something about the situation, not the personality or attitudes
of a person, that causes his behaviour.
- people generally prefer internal attributions over external ones. We tend to
see the causes of a person’s behaviour as residing in that person.
- We are perceptually focused on people-they are who we notice-while the
situation, which is often hard to see and hard to describe.
- a theory stating that in order to form an attribution about what caused a
person’s behaviour, we systematically note the pattern between the
presence (or absence) of possible causal factors and whether or not the
- You will examine multiple instances of behaviour, occurring at different
times and in different situations. Ex! asking your friend to borrow the car
and she says no. Has your friend refused to lend you the car before?
Does she lend it to other people? Does she normally lend you other stuff?
There are three types of information:
1) Consensus Information- information about the extent to which other
people behave the same way as the actor does toward the same stimulus.
Ex! do other people at work yell at Hannah too or just the boss?
2) Distinctiveness Information-information about the extent to which one
particular actor behaves in the same way to different stimuli. Ex! does
the boss yell and demeans other employees as well?