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Chapter 7

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University of Toronto St. George
Alison Luby

Chapter 7­ Correspondence Bias  Fundamental attribution error/correspondence bias­ perceivers blame behavior on the  person doing the behaving­ often at the expense of considering real, external pressures  that forces that person to behave this way.  ­ Underestimate effects of the situation  ­ Overestimate the effects of personal disposition EVIDENCE FOR CORRESPONDENCE BIAS  The Jones and Harris Attitude Attribution Paradigm   Read study from lecture first­ simple to understand from there.  Basically  ­ Participants rated the essayist’s true attitude as corresponding to the essay, regardless of  whether there was choice. That is, participants should have adjusted their rating of the  person’s true attitudes to account for the fact that he/she was forced to write a pro­Castro  essay. But they did not; they failed to consider the situation.  • Is correspondence bias an artifact of methodology?  ­ 1  criticism is that the research participants were being implicitly told by the  experimenter to make correspondent inferences. That is, norms of communication  and interaction dictate that people do not typically provide other people with  totally irrelevant information.  ­ Therefore if research participants were given an essay read about an authority  figure, were told that it was constructed by a student, and were informed that the  task was to determine how well it reflected the true attitude of the student, the  implicit communication norm at work would be that the information being  provided was probably useful as an indicator of the person’s true attitude. If not,  the experimenters would not have provided this information.  ­ 2  criticism­ the structure of the essay­ only those who support Castro can  construct such clear and expert arguments in favor of his regime. Participants saw  the no­choice condition actually to be the one where the essayist had plenty of  choices. The Ross, Amabile, and Steinmetz Quiz Show Paradigm ­ Primary hypothesis of correspondent inference theory is that as situational  constraint increases, people make fewer correspondent inferences.  ­ Again read the slide first for procedure explanation. ­ Found that observers did not take into account the pressure of the situation when  rating either the knowledge of the contestant or the questioner. Rating the  quizmaster more knowledgeable than the contestant. ­ More dramatically, the person unable to answer the questions specifically drawn from the idiosyncratic knowledge of another person was seen as generally less intelligent, despite the fact that it was clearly the situation that made the person unable to answer the questions. The correspondence bias thus emerged, again, in a totally different research paradigm. Since observers could have been assigned the role of questioner or contestant, they should have been able to imagine what it would be like to be in that role; remarkably, they did not make these considerations when evaluating others. The Snyder and Frankel Sex Tape Paradigm  Asked male participants to watch a videotape without sound of a female target person  being interviewed by a strange male.  ­ Some were led to think that the interview topic was somewhat bland and  uninteresting.  ­ Others were told that the woman being asked to discuss her sex life.  ­ The assumption was that the sex tape would be seen as more anxiety­provoking,  and that, despite the woman’s showing no difference in how anxious she appeared  from one tape to the next, the participants would assume that her level of anxiety  as a person would be higher when the topic concerned sex.  ­ Results showed that rather than discounting trait anxiety as a cause for her  feelings and behavior, participants instead made correspondent inferences to  behaviors that were not observed, but merely implied by the situation. They  assumed that the woman on the sex tape was more anxious than the woman on the  bland tape. ­ Conclude that correspondence bias is a real phenomenon, not an artifact of  methods. THE ACTOR­OBSERVER DIFFERNCE  ­ Jones and Nisbett assumptions: ­ Although as observers of others we have a tendency to underutilize information  the power of the situation and overutilize inferences about the disposition of  others, such a bias does not occur when we observers become actors.  ­ When we are judging our own actions, correspondence bias disappears.  ­ Most obvious fact is that actors are able to see their own internal states; they have  self­knowledge and insight.  ­ When judging others, we are forced to infer their intentions, goals, emotions, and  so on their observed behaviors. These behaviors are salient to us and are seen  inextricably linked to the actors. • Differences in consistency and distinctiveness information exist for actors and  observers  ­ Observers cannot see how the actors behave in different situations with either the  same or other entities. Casual data are extended over time and are not available to  the observers.  ­ Actor’s knowledge of their behavior in other situations and at other times should  make them potentially excellent judge of the “covariation” between their behavior  and the various possible situational and dispositional cause that drive their  behavior.   ­ If actors detect consistency over time, they can infer dispositional causes, if they  detect variability, they can infer situational causes more readily than observers.  • Different aspects of the environment that are salient Jones and Nisbett (1971) noted that for actors and observers, different types of  information are salient and have an impact on their interpretations of the reasons a  behavior has been performed.  ­ For actors the situation is salient, they are not typically observing themselves  when acting, but are focused outward on the environment.  ­ Linked to figure and ground Gestalt psychology­ one is figure for the observer  while it becomes ground for the actor. Perspective Taking ­ If people were to take the perspective of another, the corresponding bias should  disappear.  ­ However, the existence of the corresponding bias suggests that perspective taking  is difficult; perhaps not the default approach perceivers take to viewing the social  world. Perspective taking and the fundamental attribution error  Storms (1973) had observers physically alter their point of view so that they observed the  very same physical stimuli that actors observed.  ­ If behavior was videotaped so that observers saw it from the perspective of the  actors and the actors watched themselves as if they were observers. The actor­ observer difference should be reversed.  ­ Actors would make more dispositional attributions to their own behavior and  observers would take the situation into account.  The behavior in this experiment was a conversation between two target actors. Two observers watched the interaction, and each was instructed to observe one of the two actors/targets. Observer 1 watchedActor 1, Observer 2 watchedActor 2, Actor 1 was focused on Actor 2, andActor 2 was focused onActor 1. The interaction was video- taped with one camera onActor 1 and one camera onActor 2. Participants then watched the videotape of the interaction, and the experimenter manipulated the per- spective they saw while watching. One group saw the same perspective they had in the live version of the interaction, so that Observer 1 watchedActor 1, Observer 2 watchedActor 2,Actor 1 focused onActor 2, and Actor 2 focused onActor 1.Another group had the perspective reversed, so that Observer 1 now saw Actor 2 (who had previously served as the situation forActor 1), andActor 1 now saw him/herself (rather than the situation, which he/she had been focused on originally). Similarly, Observer 2 now saw Actor 1 andActor 2 now saw him/herself  I SUGGEST THATYOU GO TO PAGE 279 TO LOOK AT DIAGRAM In summary, people are capable of taking the perspective of others when that perspective is physically presented to them and when they are explicitly instructed to take the perspective of others. Perspective taking then allows the perceivers to form a more complete and accurate attribution of the causes for behavior. However, the evidence also seems to suggest that although perspective taking is an important ingredient in forming accurate attributions, taking the perspective of others is not something perceivers do quite naturally or spontaneously. ­ It might strike you as odd that even in a situation such as the quiz show paradigm, where the power of the situational force seems so obvious and clear, perspective taking appears not to occur, with the resulting negative consequences (the perceivers form an unwarranted negative, and dispositional, attribution). People still ignore the obvious fact that the quizmaster is making up questions based on his/her own knowledge base, and the contestant is completely at the mercy of being asked difficult questions about something at which the quizmaster is uniquely expert. ­ This might simply suggest that perhaps more is contributing to the tendency to overattribute actors’behavior to their disposition than merely the perspective that perceivers take. THE CAUSES OFTHE CORRESPONDING BIAS 1. Situations lack salience and therefore go unnoticed by perceivers - Once perceivers have attended to a salient behavior, the role of the situation in causing that behavior goes relatively unnoticed. 2. Underestimating the impact of the situation - Perceivers may notice the situation and still exhibit correspondence bias, because they have underestimated the role that the situation plays in shaping behavior. - There are two distinc
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