EXPLAINING BEHAVIOR (Psych 201 - Chapter 5 - Spring 2014)

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EXPLAINING BEHAVIOR (Psych 201 - Chapter 5 - Spring 2014)

  1. 1. This Week’s Playlist Artist Song / Psych Concept 1. Bowling For Soup Girl All The Bad Guys Want (Covariation Principle; High Consensus) 2. Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe (Covariation Principle; High Distinctiveness) 3. Cascada Every Time We Touch (Covariation Principle; High Consistency) 4. Fun. Some Nights (Covariation Principle; Low Consistency) 5. DJ Khaled All I Do Is Win (Explanatory Styles; Internal Attributions) 6. Ke$ha We R Who We R (Entity Theory)
  2. 2. CHAPTER 5:
 EXPLAINING BEHAVIOR Melanie B. Tannenbaum, M.A. Psych 201Spring 2014
  3. 3. What’s Going On Here? http://anthropomorphism.org/img/Heider_Flash.swf ! Is the large triangle mean? A) Yes B) No C) Can’t Tell
  4. 4. Attribution Theory Attribution Theory: The general term for theories about how people explain the causes of the events that they observe ! Heider & Simmel (1944)
  5. 5. Attribution Theory People tend to make very complex inferences about motives and personality based on very small amounts of information ! We like to believe in our inferences, but there are many ways that they can fail us ! The small shapes could have been trying to play with the large shape, who was just grumpy. ! The small shapes could have been trying to steal something from the large shape, who was rightfully mad. ! Also, they are shapes.
  6. 6. Causal Attribution ! Causal Attributions: Attributions that consist of linking an instance of a behavior to a cause; an attempt to figure out why someone did something. ! ! ! Can form causal attributions about your own behavior or others’ behavior.
  7. 7. Causal Attribution Causal attribution is the general process of deciding if you think that someone’s behavior was caused more by P or by E. Two Types of Causal Attributions B = f (P, E) Behavior is a function of the person and the environment Internal External Dispositional Situational Something about the person Something about the environment. Behavior primarily caused by P. Behavior primarily caused by E.
  8. 8. Causal Attribution You can make these attributions for yourself, not just others. ! The type of attributions that you make for behavior influence how you respond to the person or situation. ! Construal matters!! ! For example... ! Why did you get a bad grade on that test? ! Why did you get turned down for that date? ! Why did the instructor bring you candy?
  9. 9. Explanatory Style ! Explanatory Style ! Your habitual way of making causal attributions ! ! Three Dimensions ! Internal vs. External: Person or the situation? ! Stable vs. Unstable: Permanent or temporary? ! Global vs. Specific: Every domain or just this one?
  10. 10. Explanatory Style Dimensions GLOBAL SPECIFIC Why did you get a bad grade on that test? I’m bad at everything I’m bad at Math Why did you get turned down for that date? No one likes me He doesn’t like me Why did the instructor bring you candy? She’s nice She’s nice to students INTERNAL EXTERNAL Why did you get a bad grade on that test? I’m stupid The test was unfair Why did you get turned down for that date? I’m ugly He/she was in a bad mood Why did the instructor bring you candy? She’s nice It’s Valentine’s Day this week STABLE UNSTABLE Why did you get a bad grade on that test? He’s unfair I didn’t study enough this time Why did you get turned down for that date? She’s rude It wasn’t my best pick-up line Why did the instructor bring you candy? She’s nice She’s having a good day
  11. 11. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global She’s such a genuinely nice person to everyone! Internal Stable Specific She’s such a genuinely nice person to her students! Internal Unstable Global She must be feeling nice today. Internal Unstable Specific She must be feeling nice towards her students today. External Stable Global She always has extra candy, and always needs to get rid of it. External Stable Specific She must use candy whenever she has to demo something in class. External Unstable Global She had a lot of extra candy, so she’s bringing it everywhere with her. External Unstable Specific She probably brought candy to demonstrate a point in class today. Why did the instructor bring candy?
  12. 12. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global She’s such a genuinely nice person to everyone! Internal Stable Specific She’s such a genuinely nice person to her students! Internal Unstable Global She must be feeling nice today. Internal Unstable Specific She must be feeling nice towards her students today. External Stable Global She always has extra candy, and always needs to get rid of it. External Stable Specific She must use candy whenever she has to demo something in class. External Unstable Global She had a lot of extra candy, so she’s bringing it everywhere with her. External Unstable Specific She probably brought candy to demonstrate a point in class today. Why did the instructor bring candy?
  13. 13. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global She’s such a genuinely nice person to everyone! Internal Stable Specific She’s such a genuinely nice person to her students! Internal Unstable Global She must be feeling nice today. Internal Unstable Specific She must be feeling nice towards her students today. External Stable Global She always has extra candy, and always needs to get rid of it. External Stable Specific She must use candy whenever she has to demo something in class. External Unstable Global She had a lot of extra candy, so she’s bringing it everywhere with her. External Unstable Specific She probably brought candy to demonstrate a point in class today. Why did the instructor bring candy?
  14. 14. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global She’s such a genuinely nice person to everyone! Internal Stable Specific She’s such a genuinely nice person to her students! Internal Unstable Global She must be feeling nice today. Internal Unstable Specific She must be feeling nice towards her students today. External Stable Global She always has extra candy, and always needs to get rid of it. External Stable Specific She must use candy whenever she has to demo something in class. External Unstable Global She had a lot of extra candy, so she’s bringing it everywhere with her. External Unstable Specific She probably brought candy to demonstrate a point in class today. Why did the instructor bring candy?
  15. 15. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global I’m bad at everything, and I always will be. Internal Stable Specific I’m bad at Calculus, and I always will be. Internal Unstable Global I just can’t do anything right this semester. Internal Unstable Specific I just can’t do Calculus this semester. External Stable Global Final exams are just always unfair or way too hard. External Stable Specific That professor’s exams are always really unfair. External Unstable Global Every exam this semester has been really unfair. External Unstable Specific That professor’s exams have been really unfair this semester. Why did I fail that final exam?
  16. 16. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global I’m bad at everything, and I always will be. Internal Stable Specific I’m bad at Calculus, and I always will be. Internal Unstable Global I just can’t do anything right this semester. Internal Unstable Specific I just can’t do Calculus this semester. External Stable Global Final exams are just always unfair or way too hard. External Stable Specific That professor’s exams are always really unfair. External Unstable Global Every exam this semester has been really unfair. External Unstable Specific That professor’s exams have been really unfair this semester. Why did I fail that final exam?
  17. 17. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global I’m bad at everything, and I always will be. Internal Stable Specific I’m bad at Calculus, and I always will be. Internal Unstable Global I just can’t do anything right this semester. Internal Unstable Specific I just can’t do Calculus this semester. External Stable Global Final exams are just always unfair or way too hard. External Stable Specific That professor’s exams are always really unfair. External Unstable Global Every exam this semester has been really unfair. External Unstable Specific That professor’s exams have been really unfair this semester. Why did I fail that final exam?
  18. 18. I/E S/U G/S Attribution Internal Stable Global I’m bad at everything, and I always will be. Internal Stable Specific I’m bad at Calculus, and I always will be. Internal Unstable Global I just can’t do anything right this semester. Internal Unstable Specific I just can’t do Calculus this semester. External Stable Global Final exams are just always unfair or way too hard. External Stable Specific That professor’s exams are always really unfair. External Unstable Global Every exam this semester has been really unfair. External Unstable Specific That professor’s exams have been really unfair this semester. Why did I fail that final exam?
  19. 19. Some Practice With Explanatory Styles All I do is win, win, win no matter what ! Internal or External? ! A. Internal ! B. External
  20. 20. Some Practice With Explanatory Styles All I do is win, win, win no matter what ! ! ! ! Stable or Unstable? ! A. Stable ! B. Unstable
  21. 21. Some Practice With Explanatory Styles All I do is win, win, win no matter what ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Global or Specific? ! A. Global ! B. Specific
  22. 22. Some Practice With Explanatory Styles All I do is win, win, win no matter what ! Internal or External? ! A. Internal ■ Attributes success to himself winning (not to the situation) ! Stable or Unstable? ! A. Stable ■ He wins no matter what; it doesn’t depend on the situation ! Global or Specific? ! A. Global ■ He wins in every domain; it is literally all that he does
  23. 23. Pessimistic Explanatory Style Internal, Stable, Global (for negative events) ! “It’s my fault, I can’t change it, and it happens with everything.” Internal
  24. 24. Pessimistic Explanatory Style Internal, Stable, Global (for negative events) ! “It’s my fault, I can’t change it, and it happens with everything.” Stable
  25. 25. Pessimistic Explanatory Style Internal, Stable, Global (for negative events) ! “It’s my fault, I can’t change it, and it happens with everything.” Global
  26. 26. Pessimistic Explanatory Style Internal, Stable, Global (for negative events) ! “It’s my fault, I can’t change it, and it happens with everything.” ! People who regularly see negative events this way tend to be depressed/anxious; they don’t feel like they can control anything, so they give up
  27. 27. Pessimistic Explanatory Style ! ! Your explanatory style is important! ! ! Having a pessimistic explanatory style at age 25 predicts physical health for the rest of your life.
  28. 28. Pessimistic Explanatory Style Your explanatory style is important! ! Having a pessimistic explanatory style at age 25 predicts physical health for the rest of your life! Significant correlations between having a pessimistic explanatory style at age 25 and physical health problems at ages 45-60!
  29. 29. The Processes of Causal Attribution
  30. 30. Covariation Principle Kelley, 1973 ! If you’re trying to form an attribution about what caused some behavior, you will systematically note the pattern between the behavior & the presence of certain “causal factors.” ! Three Parts Consensus Distinctiveness Consistency
  31. 31. Covariation Principle Consensus ! Do most people do this in the situation, or is the target person unique in his/her behavior? ! Distinctiveness ! Does the target person only do this in this particular situation, or does he/she do this in every situation? ! Consistency ! Does the target person do this every time he/she is in this situation, or did this only happen one (or two) times?
  32. 32. Covariation Principle Main Dimension of Interest: Internal vs. External ! Internal ! Is this thought, feeling, or behavior best explained by the actor’s personality, traits, motivations, or personal desires? ! External ! Is this thought, feeling, or behavior best explained by something about the environment, situation, or circumstances?
  33. 33. Your friend Dave just recommended a class to take next semester. Should you take this recommendation seriously? Is the class actually good, or is it just Dave being Dave?
  34. 34. Consistency should ALWAYS be high! (You can’t make a very confident attribution if the behavior isn’t consistent.)
  35. 35. REMEMBER: I-L-L! Internal Attribution (I) = LOW Consensus, LOW Distinctiveness.
  36. 36. ...and, I guess, EHH? External Attribution (E) = HIGH Consensus, HIGH Distinctiveness.
  37. 37. Why does Jack want to date Jill?
  38. 38. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: Low (Jack also asked out Jane) Consistency: High (This is the 3rd time Jack asked out Jill) A) INTERNAL B) EXTERNAL C) DON’T KNOW
  39. 39. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: Low (Jack also asked out Jane) Consistency: High (This is the 3rd time Jack asked out Jill) Attribution: A) Internal (Jack is desperate)
  40. 40. Consensus: High (Josh and John also asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: High (This is the 3rd time Jack asked out Jill) A) INTERNAL B) EXTERNAL C) DON’T KNOW
  41. 41. Consensus: High (Josh and John also asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: High (This is the 3rd time Jack asked out Jill) Attribution: B) External (Jill is desirable)
  42. 42. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: Low (This is the 1st time Jack asked out Jill) A) INTERNAL B) EXTERNAL C) DON’T KNOW
  43. 43. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: Low (This is the 1st time Jack asked out Jill) Attribution: Interaction (There is something about Jill (external) that does it for Jack (internal))
  44. 44. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: Low (This is the 1st time Jack asked out Jill) Attribution: Interaction (There is something about Jill (external) that does it for Jack (internal)) Note: When consistency is low, hard to say for sure what’s happening.
  45. 45. Consensus: Low (No one else asked out Jill) Distinctiveness: High (Jack has only asked out Jill) Consistency: Low (This is the 1st time Jack asked out Jill) Attribution: Interaction (There is something about Jill (external) that does it for Jack (internal)) Note: You will never need to predict interactions on a quiz/exam. This is just to answer all possible questions.
  46. 46. Covariation Principle Two Important Notes ! People rely more on consistency and distinctiveness info. ! Remember the fundamental attribution error. ! We’re very eager to attribute behavior to internal causes and ignore the situation, meaning we don’t always look for what other people tend to do in the same situation (consensus). ! People don’t always have all three types of information. ! We either proceed with the information that we have, or make assumptions about the missing data.
  47. 47. Covariation Principle The three different parts can be tricky to remember/apply, but you’re going to have to do it, either on a quiz or your midterm, or both (hint, hint) ! Relationships & Playlist Songs ! Consensus: Does everyone else behave the same way the target person does? ! Girl All The Bad Guys Want ! Does everyone want this person, or just the target person? ! Distinctiveness: Is the target person picky or not? ! Call Me Maybe ! Do all the other boys try to chase this person, but she is only giving her number to this one person and asking him to call her (maybe)? ! Consistency: Does the target person always behave similarly in the given situation? ! Every Time We Touch ! Every time you touch, do you get the same exact feeling?
  48. 48. Covariation Principle Consensus: ARE YOU ALONE OR DOES EVERYONE ELSE ACT/FEEL/THINK THE SAME WAY. ! ! Distinctiveness: WOULD YOU ACT/FEEL/THINK THAT WAY IN ANY SITUATION, OR ONLY IN THIS ONE? ! ! Consistency: DO YOU ALWAYS ACT/FEEL/THINK THE SAME EXACT WAY ANY TIME YOU’RE IN THIS SITUATION?
  49. 49. Covariation Principle Consensus: How unique is your behavior compared to other people in the same situation. ! ! Distinctiveness: How unique is your behavior compared to the way you act in other situations. ! ! Consistency: How unique is your behavior compared to how you always act whenever you’re in that same situation.
  50. 50. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Biology test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  51. 51. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She also got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  52. 52. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She got an A on a recent Engineering test, and an A on a recent Math test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  53. 53. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of attribution should you form? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Bio test. She got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. She got As on her recent Engineering & Math tests. ! A. Internal Attribution (Maria is smart or good at math/science) B. External Attribution (This class is really easy) C. Unsure/Unclear/Not Enough Information/Interaction
  54. 54. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Biology test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  55. 55. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Biology test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency How does everyone else tend to act/think/feel in this situation?
  56. 56. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She also got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  57. 57. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She also got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency Does Maria always behave this way whenever she encounters this situation (a Bio test)?
  58. 58. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She got an A on a recent Engineering test, and an A on a recent Math test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency
  59. 59. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of information is this? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. She got an A on a recent Engineering test, and an A on a recent Math test. ! A. Consensus ! B. Distinctiveness ! C. Consistency Does Maria behave this way across many different situations/classes, or only in this one?
  60. 60. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of attribution should you form? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Bio test. She got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. She got As on her recent Engineering & Math tests. ! A. Internal Attribution (Maria is smart or good at math/science) B. External Attribution (This class is really easy) C. Unsure/Unclear/Not Enough Information/Interaction
  61. 61. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of attribution should you form? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Bio test. She got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. She got As on her recent Engineering & Math tests. ! Internal Attribution (Maria is smart or good at math/science)
  62. 62. Covariation Principle: 
 Test Your Knowledge What type of attribution should you form? ! Maria got an A+ on a recent Biology test. Everyone else in the class got a B or a C on that Bio test. She got an A+ on the last 2 Biology tests. She got As on her recent Engineering & Math tests. ! Internal Attribution (Maria is smart or good at math/science) Low Consensus + Low Distinctiveness + High Consistency = INTERNAL ATTRIBUTION.
  63. 63. Imagining Alternatives Discounting Principle ! If Possible Causes X, Y, & Z could all have caused the behavior, we reduce the weight we place on any one of them; there’s no longer a 1-to-1, so we are less confident in attributions. ! A. SUZIE ! Practices the guitar every day. ! Her Mom gives her ice cream when she practices ! She wants to impress a boy in her class who likes musicians. B. LAURA ! Practices the guitar every day. Who likes playing the guitar more, Suzie or Laura?
  64. 64. Discounting Principle Possible Cause #1: Liking The Guitar Possible Cause #2: Liking Ice Cream Possible Cause #3: Liking Boy GUITAR PLAYINGSUZIE 1. Liking Guitar 2. Liking Ice Cream 3. Liking Boy GUITAR PLAYINGLAURA 1. Liking Guitar
  65. 65. Imagining Alternatives ! Out-of-role behavior more informative than in-role. ! If you act in a way that a role “expects,” people don’t know if you’re acting that way because it’s how you are, or just because of the situation. ! If you act a certain way despite a situation, people will make more extreme judgments about your traits.
  66. 66. Imagining Alternatives Augmentation Principle ! If X caused a behavior in spite of barriers that should prevent the behavior from occurring, we can be particularly confident that X is the reason for the behavior. If a couple expresses PDA in a situation where PDA is really not appropriate, you might assume that these people are really into each other! (Or really socially awkward.)
  67. 67. Imagining Alternatives ! Mary acts extraverted in interview for a sales position. ! Was she acting this way because of job expectations? ! Is she just an extraverted person? ! Was she just trying to make a good impression? ! Amy acts extraverted in interview for an analyst position. ! She must actually be a really extraverted person.
  68. 68. Imagining Alternatives Counterfactual Thoughts ! Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda ! Thoughts of what might have, could have, or should have happened “if only” something had gone differently
  69. 69. Imagining Alternatives Emotional Amplification ! Emotional reactions to counterfactuals are proportional to how easy it is to imagine the alternatives. ! Example: Missing your flight... ! By 2 minutes: “If only I had made that ONE traffic light! If only I hadn’t stopped to check my e-mail that one last time!” ! ! By 2 hours: It’s hard to imagine how you could possibly have made it there on time, so it’s less painful.
  70. 70. Imagining Alternatives Silver Medal Syndrome ! Bronze medalists are often happier than silver medalists.
  71. 71. Silver Medal Syndrome Researchers recorded TV coverage of 1992 Olympics. RAs viewed the tapes and rated the athletes’ facial expressions on the medal podium. ! Silver medalists were objectively rated to appear less happy than the bronze medalists. ! Why?! ! Silver Medalist: “If only X, I could have gotten gold!” ! Bronze Medalist: “If only X, I might not have medaled at all!”
  72. 72. Imagining Alternatives People feel even worse than usual if something bad occurs after doing something unusual, because it is so easy to think of all the different possible counterfactuals. ! Examples ! Yiyo the Matador: Last minute subbed for another matador & died. ! ! Multiple Choice Exam: Worse if you had right answer & switched. ! ! Israeli soldiers aren’t allowed to switch missions with other soldiers. This is specifically because if the swapped soldier happened to die on that mission, the surviving soldier and the killed soldier’s family would both feel so awful about it.
  73. 73. Errors and Biases in Attribution
  74. 74. Self-Serving Attributional Bias The tendency to attribute failures to external causes and successes to internal causes. ! This usually occurs because people want to maintain a positive image of themselves. ! Think for a moment... ! The last time you got an A, was it because you were smart & prepared, or because the test was easy? ! The last time you got a C, was it because you weren’t smart or prepared, or because the test was hard or unfair?
  75. 75. Self-Serving Attributional Bias After a professional sports game, 80% of statements made about the victory by coaches/athletes cited internal causes (“we trained hard”), while 47% of the statements made about the loss cited external causes (“bad calls”). ! In shareholder business letters, CEOs claimed credit for 83% of positive events but only claimed blame for 19% of negative events.
  76. 76. Fundamental Attribution Error The tendency to attribute a person’s behavior to personality while ignoring situational causes.
  77. 77. Fundamental Attribution Error ○ Kurt Lewin ● Father of Social Psych ! ○ B = f (P, E) ● Behavior is a function of the person and the environment
  78. 78. Fundamental Attribution Error ! ○ People usually don’t think about the situation... ● ...we overweight the importance of personalities ! ○ Fundamental Attribution Error ● People overweight the influence of other people’s personalities on their behavior and neglect the importance of the situation. ! ○ Bias towards automatically making dispositional attributions instead of situational ones.
  79. 79. Fundamental Attribution Error A driver who cuts you off is a bad driver or a “jerk” (or worse) Maybe she was in a hurry, had to swerve to avoid hitting another car, had kids distracting her in the backseat...
  80. 80. Fundamental Attribution Error The tendency to attribute a person’s behavior to personality while ignoring situational causes. B = f (P, E) Behavior is a function of the person and the environment Generally, people tend to overestimate the influence of P...
  81. 81. Fundamental Attribution Error The tendency to attribute a person’s behavior to personality while ignoring situational causes. B = f (P, E) Behavior is a function of the person and the environment ...and underestimate the influence of E.
  82. 82. Fundamental Attribution Error ! It’s not so surprising that people would want to look at personality first and foremost; we often want to learn more about the people around us ! What is surprising is that even when there are incredibly obvious situational influences on someone’s behavior, we still say the behavior was caused by their personality!!!!
  83. 83. Poll How smart is Alex Trebek? ! A. Extremely Dumb ! B. Pretty Dumb ! C. Average ! D. Pretty Smart ! E. Extremely Smart
  84. 84. Fundamental Attribution Error Jeopardy Study (Ross et al., 1977) ! Subjects randomly assigned to be questioner or contestant in “quiz game.” ! Questioners get to make up the questions - obvious situational advantage. ! Asked questioners, contestants, and neutral observers to evaluate everyone’s intelligence. 0 20 40 60 80 Questioner Contestant Questioner's Rating Contestant's Rating Observer's Rating
  85. 85. Fundamental Attribution Error Jeopardy Study (Ross et al., 1977) ! Subjects randomly assigned to be questioner or contestant in “quiz game.” ! Questioners get to make up the questions - obvious situational advantage. ! Asked questioners, contestants, and neutral observers to evaluate everyone’s intelligence. 0 20 40 60 80 Questioner Contestant 5050 Questioner's Rating Contestant's Rating Observer's Rating Questioners realized that they were probably about as smart as the other guy
  86. 86. Fundamental Attribution Error Jeopardy Study (Ross et al., 1977) ! Subjects randomly assigned to be questioner or contestant in “quiz game.” ! Questioners get to make up the questions - obvious situational advantage. ! Asked questioners, contestants, and neutral observers to evaluate everyone’s intelligence. 0 20 40 60 80 Questioner Contestant 40 65 Questioner's Rating Contestant's Rating Observer's Rating Contestants thought Questioners were a bit smarter (Qs clearly knew stuff Cs didn’t)
  87. 87. Fundamental Attribution Error Jeopardy Study (Ross et al., 1977) ! Subjects randomly assigned to be questioner or contestant in “quiz game.” ! Questioners get to make up the questions - obvious situational advantage. ! Asked questioners, contestants, and neutral observers to evaluate everyone’s intelligence. 0 20 40 60 80 Questioner Contestant 40 80 Questioner's Rating Contestant's Rating Observer's Rating Observers (unfairly) thought Questioner was MUCH smarter than the Contestant!
  88. 88. Fundamental Attribution Error Jeopardy Study (Ross et al., 1977) ! Subjects randomly assigned to be questioner or contestant in “quiz game.” ! Questioners get to make up the questions - obvious situational advantage. ! Asked questioners, contestants, and neutral observers to evaluate everyone’s intelligence. Observer's Rating 0 20 40 60 80 Questioner Contestant 40 80 Don’t consider the situation (unfair advantage in question making)
  89. 89. Fundamental Attribution Error Jones & Harris, 1967 ! Participants were given an essay to read; the essay was either pro-Castro or anti-Castro. ! Half of the participants were told that the writer of each essay freely chose the topic, while the other half were told that the stance was assigned and that the writer had no choice in what to write about.
  90. 90. Fundamental Attribution Error 0 15 30 45 60 Freely Chosen Stance Assigned Stance Pro-Castro Essay Anti-Castro Essay How Pro-Castro Is The Author? Even when they knew the stance was ASSIGNED, they still thought the “Pro- Castro” essay guy was more Pro-Castro!
  91. 91. Fundamental Attribution Error Observers often don’t consider the situational advantages enjoyed by those who succeed. Bill Gates had access to real-time programming years before most people did.
  92. 92. Fundamental Attribution Error Observers often don’t consider the situational advantages enjoyed by those who succeed. A disproportionate number of pro hockey players have January, February, or March birthdays.
  93. 93. Fundamental Attribution Error Observers often don’t consider the situational advantages enjoyed by those who succeed. A disproportionate number of pro soccer players have September, October, or November birthdays.
  94. 94. Fundamental Attribution Error Observers often don’t consider the situational advantages enjoyed by those who succeed. Children born on opposite ends of the cutoff date differ by 12% in 4th grade standardized math & science scores.
  95. 95. Fundamental Attribution Error Dual Process Models (Automatic vs. Controlled) ! We make an initial, automatic dispositional attribution ! If we have the motivation and the ability, we then adjust this attribution based on situational factors. ■ If we are tired, distracted, or unmotivated, we often fail to adjust for the situation & stick with the dispositional attribution. ! Typically, we anchor our explanations on personality and then adjust based on the situation
  96. 96. Attribution Process: In Theory (Ideal) Behavior Context Interpret the behavior’s significance/ meaning using the context Dispositional Inference This is what you would expect based on the discounting principle; given multiple possible causes (context), you assign weights and make judgments.
  97. 97. Attribution Process: In Reality Behavior ID the behavior Dispositional Inference Automatically characterize the person Effortfully adjust for the context (maybe) This is what Gilbert suggests actually happens.
  98. 98. Dual Process FAE Model In Action Participants watched a silent video of a woman in an interview who looked very anxious. Half of the participants were distracted with a list of words that they had to memorize. ! This is called cognitive load; it’s an experimental way to lower their abilities to effortfully correct initial dispositional attributions. Afterwards, participants were either told that the topics she was discussing were (a) anxiety-provoking or (b) neutral. ! In the anxiety-provoking condition, there’s a good situational reason why the woman should have looked anxious (it’s the topic, not her).
  99. 99. Dual Process FAE Model In Action 0 2 4 6 8 10 Not Distracted Distracted Anxiety-Provoking Topics Neutral Topics How anxious is this woman (dispositionally)?
  100. 100. Dual Process FAE Model In Action 0 2 4 6 8 10 Not Distracted Distracted Anxiety-Provoking Topics Neutral Topics How anxious is this woman (dispositionally)? Participants adjusted their judgments based on their knowledge of what she was actually talking about.
  101. 101. Dual Process FAE Model In Action 0 2 4 6 8 10 Not Distracted Distracted Anxiety-Provoking Topics Neutral Topics How anxious is this woman (dispositionally)?
  102. 102. Dual Process FAE Model In Action 0 2 4 6 8 10 Not Distracted Distracted Anxiety-Provoking Topics Neutral Topics How anxious is this woman (dispositionally)? Participants whose attentions were distracted couldn’t adjust their automatic attributions & made dispositional attributions, no matter what.
  103. 103. What might cause the FAE?
  104. 104. 1. Perceptual Salience Other people are usually much more attention-grabbing than the context or the situation ! We pay more attention to people than other objects ! When looking for obvious explanations of behavior, we immediately go to the things that capture our attention
  105. 105. 2. Conceptual Salience ! ! Information about situational cues is often unavailable, unclear, or uninteresting. ! ! If the situation is what we’re interested in, the FAE can actually become reversed! We make automatic situational attributions, and then correct for the person.
  106. 106. 3. Just World Hypothesis People assume that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people ! “People get what they deserve.” ! Often used to explain random actions and/or luck ! Accidents, natural disasters, and seemingly random violence are terrifying because they are completely uncontrollable ! Often appears as “blaming the victim.” ! If you can come up with reasons why a crime victim was targeted (like “she was asking for it”), it’s easier to view it as avoidable/ preventable instead of random and scary.
  107. 107. 3. Just World Hypothesis ! “Just World” is a way to rationalize unfairness and feel like you can predict and control seemingly random events, or else you would be paralyzed by fear every day. ! ! Unfortunately, there are many studies that support the theory of people having a “belief in a just world”...
  108. 108. 3. Just World Hypothesis ! People who are high in “belief in a just world” are more likely to derogate poor people & people with HIV. ! ! When people evaluated different descriptions of a man who was injured in a traffic accident, they were more likely to insult his character or blame him for the accident as the injury descriptions got more serious.
  109. 109. 3. Just World Hypothesis Participants read one of three paragraphs describing an interaction between a man and a woman. ! The only thing that differed between the paragraphs was the final sentence — it either ended neutrally, with a marriage proposal, or with the woman being raped. ! No matter how the story ended, the participants in each case judged the ending of the story as “inevitable,” and indicated that the woman had clearly acted in a way that obviously would have “caused” whatever happened.
  110. 110. 4. Actor-Observer Difference As an observer, you are focused on the actor in the situation. As an actor, you are focused outward on the situation. ! Whatever information is most salient is most likely to “receive” the initial causal attribution ! Actors and observers have different assumptions about what needs to be explained. ! Actors say that their own behavior was caused by the situation; observers say that an actor’s behavior was due to personality. !
  111. 111. 4. Actor-Observer Difference Memory Study (Frank & Gilovich, 1989) ! Participants recalled memories from a third-person perspective. ! “Melanie was teaching her class and talked about this study.” ! When people referred to themselves in the third person, they made more dispositional attributions for their own behavior! ! ! People apply the FAE to themselves when they are the ones who are the observers.
  112. 112. 4. Actor-Observer Difference As an actor, you have a lot of consistency and distinctiveness information about yourself. ! You know better than anyone else how you act in the same situation every time you encounter it, and whether or not this is different from how you act in other situations. ! When you act strange, you “know” that it was the situation that motivated your behavior. ! As an observer, you might not be able to assume that information for others, so you take the “safe” route and assume it’s just who they are.
  113. 113. 4. Actor-Observer Difference Why Attributions Differ ! 1. Different assumptions about what needs explaining. ■ Actors want to understand the situation. ■ Observers want to understand the actors. ! ! 2. Different information is perceptually salient. ■ Actors focus on the situation. ■ Observers focus on the actors. ! ! 3. They have access to different kinds of information. ■ Actors know more about themselves than anyone else!
  114. 114. More FAE Evidence ! !Participants randomly assigned to be the questioner or the responder in a conversation. ! ! ! !The questioner had to ask a set of questions about the responder’s personality, and the responder had to answer with one of two pre-written choices (an “altruistic” response and a “selfish” response)
  115. 115. More FAE Evidence !After each question that the questioners asked, they were actually told to indicate to the responders which one of the two answer types they should give. ! !Questioners judged the responders as having personalities that were consistent with the responses, even though they were the ones who chose the responses.
  116. 116. Culture and Causal Attribution
  117. 117. Independent vs. Interdependent The fundamental attribution error is more widespread and pronounced for Westerners than Easterners. ! American attributions are less influenced by consensus information (remember the covariation principle) than Korean attributions. ! Korean attributions take information about what anyone would do in that situation into account more than Americans. ! Asians are less likely to make initial dispositional inferences than Westerners.
  118. 118. Independent vs. Interdependent Interdependent cultures pay more attention to context factors ! “Why did your team win the game?” ! Individualists: “We’re awesome!” ! Collectivists: “The other team had an off day.” ! “Why did the fish swim in that direction?” ! Individualists: “It wanted to!” ! Collectivists: “The stream was going that way.” ! Collectivists don’t ignore dispositions, they are just more likely to give equal weight to the person and the situation, rather than overweighting the importance of personality.
  119. 119. Independent vs. Interdependent
  120. 120. Independent vs. Interdependent Copy the line from the “Target Stimulus” box into a new box.
  121. 121. Independent vs. Interdependent Either have to... ! Draw a line that’s exactly the same absolute size (1 inch) ! Draw a line that’s exactly the same relative size (33% of the box) ! Independent cultures do better with the absolute task. Interdependent cultures do better with the relative task.
  122. 122. Independent vs. Interdependent When describing this scene, individualists were more likely to mention the focal objects, while collectivists described the scene as a whole.
  123. 123. Independent vs. Interdependent Japanese participants judged a happy face surrounded by sad faces as less happy than American participants, and vice versa for a sad face surrounded by happy faces.
  124. 124. Can You Prime Culture? Hong Kong participants shown either... ! “US” pictures (the Capitol building, a cowboy, Mickey Mouse) ! “Chinese” pictures (a Chinese dragon, a temple, men writing in Mandarin) ! Shown the picture of the fish. ! Priming different cultural schemas influenced their responses and what they focused on in the pictures. ! Those primed with the US gave more descriptions having to do with the motivations of the individual fish. Those primed with China gave more descriptions having to do with the other fish or the context.
  125. 125. Social Class and Attributions ! Socioeconomic Status (SES, Social Class) ! Someone’s wealth, education, and occupational prestige. ! ! Social class differences mimic cultural differences ! High SES individuals are often highly independent. ! Low SES individuals are often highly interdependent.
  126. 126. Social Class and Attributions Kraus et al., 2009 ! Low SES people generate more situational attributions. ! “What is driving the spike in US economic inequality?” ! Low SES: “Lack of equal educational opportunities.” High SES: “Lack of effort.”
  127. 127. Social Class and Attributions Kraus et al., 2009 ! Low SES people generate more situational attributions. ! “Why did you get into that graduate program?” ! Low SES: “Just luck; maybe they were in a good mood.” High SES: “Because I’m awesome!”
  128. 128. Social Class and Attributions Kraus et al., 2009 ! Low SES people generate more situational attributions. ! ! Theory: Being a member of a lower-SES group fosters a more interdependent cultural mindset because people will be better off if they can “pool resources” and work together to achieve good/important outcomes.
  129. 129. What are your beliefs? Do you think that your intelligence is... ! A. Fixed at birth. You are born either “smart” or “dumb.” ! ! B. Malleable. You can always improve with hard work. ! ! C. A mix. You are born with a “set point,” but you can improve (within limits) with hard work and practice.
  130. 130. Culture and Explanatory Style Entity vs. Incremental Theories ! ! Entity (Stable) ! Your personality/abilities are fixed ! No matter what you do, they pretty much stay the same. ! ! Incremental (Unstable) ! Your personality/abilities are malleable ! If you want to change them, you can do so with enough effort.
  131. 131. Culture and Explanatory Style Your response to failure greatly depends on these mindsets. ! ! Entity theorists see failure as a threat. ! If “you are who you are,” failing means that you are a failure. ! ! Incremental theorists see failure as a cue to work harder. ! If you can change, failing just means you need to put in more effort.
  132. 132. Culture and Explanatory Style Does this remind you of anything that we’ve already discussed in class? ! What kind of theory do you think collectivist/interdependent cultures are more likely to hold? ! ! A. Entity (Fixed) Theory ! B. Incremental (Malleable) Theory
  133. 133. Culture and Explanatory Style On average, people in interdependent/collectivist cultures are more likely to hold incremental theories of ability. ! Heine et al. (2001) ! Creativity Task for Japanese and Canadian participants; either told they were good or bad at it. ! Japanese participants worked on it more if they were bad. Canadian participants worked on it more if they were good.
  134. 134. Summary: Chapter 5 Causal Attribution ! Covariation Principle ! Counterfactual Thoughts Errors & Biases in Attributions ! Self-Serving Attributional Bias ! Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) ! Actor-Observer Attribution Difference Culture & Causal Attribution ! Low SES = Interdependent = Attention to situation ! High SES = Independent = Attention to personality ! Collectivist cultures more attuned to the situation, tend to hold incremental theories of ability (not entity)
  135. 135. Ch. 5: Most Important Points Actor-Observer Difference ! Fundamental Attribution Error ! Castro Study ! Attributional Process (Gilbert) ! Just World Hypothesis ! Covariation Theory ! Consensus ! Distinctiveness ! Consistency 3 Dimensions of Explanatory Styles ! Pessimistic Explanatory Style ! What are the 3 dimensions? ! Silver Medal Syndrome ! Effect of Distraction on FAE ! Why do actors’ and observers’ attributions differ? (3 reasons!)

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