February 19, 2014
Attributions - determined causes for outcomes
• internal = something about you, your ability
• external = something about the situation/environment, luck or other people
EX. car accident “I am a terrible driver” vs “I was texting” (just a specific incident) or “it was
the other driver’s fault”
Self-handicapping - creating impediments (real or perceived) to own performance so as to affect
attributions for success and failure
• Doing vs. Talking
Behavioral - actually negatively affect performance, you don’t try to do well
• Men are more likely to do this
Self-report - talking about low performance expectations
• Women are more likely to do this
Similar benefits to behavioral, but less destructive...(if you do poorly, you have an excuse as to
why that isn't just your personal lack of ability or if you do great, you truly are awesome, even
with the excuse, the reason to do poorly)
Jones and Berglas (1978)
Starting point: alcohol consumption = performance
Alcohol consumption = expectation for performance
• For you and others
Failure not a surprise
• Given impediment, how could you do well?
• Not due to your ability
o External attribution – “unstable”
Success is a surprise
• Do well in spite of impediment
• Say about you?
o You must be really good!
o Internal attribution – “stable”
Benefit regardless of outcome
Other ways to self-handicap?
Why is alcohol so appealing?
• Alcohol also anxiety
o Not as worried about performance