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Social Psychology Notes Week 4

by: Christina Hancock

Social Psychology Notes Week 4 PSYC 2606

Marketplace > University of Colorado at Boulder > Psychlogy > PSYC 2606 > Social Psychology Notes Week 4
Christina Hancock

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About this Document

These notes cover, Causal Attributions, Biases in Causal Attributions (the fundamental error), and Factors that Reduce Fundamental Attribution Error.
Social Psychology
Irene Blair
Class Notes
social psychology




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Christina Hancock on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2606 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Irene Blair in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Thursday, February 4, 2016 Social Psychology Week 4 Causal Attributions — The explanation for a persons behavior; what is determined to be the cause of the behavior. — Causal attributions are most likely o be elicited when behavior is… • Negative • Unexpected • Personally relevant Two types of Attributions Internal/ Personal Attributions: Behavior is explained by aspects of the person. External/Situations Attribution: Behaviors is explained by aspects of the situation. Consequences for Response: internal Attribution External Attribution Emotion Anger Sympathy Judgment Blame Not Responsible Behavior Punishment Help How are Attributions Made? Covariation Principle - We consider potential causes of the behavior and “weigh” them based on our perception of what other people would do (consensus) and, if known what this same person has done in other situations (distinctiveness) Covariation Information = Internal Attribution Low Consensus - Most people would have behaved differently Low Distinctiveness - this person often does similar things *** Internal Causes *** ‘ 1 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Covariation Information = External Attribution High Consensus - Most people would behave the same way. High Distinctiveness - This person does not usually do this. *** External Causes *** Discounting Principle Less weight is given to a particular cause if there are obvious other causes for the behavior Augmentation Principle More weight is given to a particular cause if other potential causes would have produced an opposite result. ————————————————————————————————— Biases in Causal Attributions (The Fundamental Attribution Error) Making Casual Attributions: - Principles of covariation, discounting and augmentation assume that people think carefully and deliberately about the best canal attribution BUT… - People often make attributions very quickly, without thinking. We don't usually have the motivation, time or ability to consider every piece of information and weigh it appropriately. Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency to focus on personal (internal) causes and underestimate the influence of the situation on behavior Jones and Harris (1967) IV1: Participants read an essay that supported or opposed Fidel Castro’s communist regime. IV2: They were told that the essay position was freely chosen or assigned to the writer. 2 Thursday, February 4, 2016 DV: Judgment of the writer’s true attitude toward Castro. Logically, does a pro- Castro essay indicate a more favorable attitude toward Castro than an anti-Castro? - When it was freely chosen Why Fundamental Attribution Error: Perceptual Salience People make attributions to causes that are most obvious ( salient) - In explaining a person behavior, we are typically focused on the person rather than the surrounding context “Why did Jane crash her car?” Not: “Why did the road cause Jane’s car to crash?” Why are Fundamental Attribution Error: Personal Attributions are automatic - situational attributions take more time. ——————————————————————————————————————— Factors that Reduce Fundamental Attribution Error Self - Enhancing Attributions: Bad outcomes are not my fault; good outcomes are all me. Actor-Observer Differences: The actor tends to explain their own behavior as due to the situation. The observer tends to explain the actor behavior as due to personal qualities of the actor. 3 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Cultural Differences: - The fundamental attribution error is less prevalent in collectivistic cultures • Individualists are more likely to attribute behaviors to dispositions • Collectivists are more likely to attribute behaviors to the situation. - For people who are connected to both independent and interdependent cultures, attribution styles may change depending on the cultural context. Debasing Efforts: (Morewedge et al., 2015) - Teach people about each bias and how it affects them - Teach mitigating strategies: Consider alternative explanations, possible outcomes, anchors, perspective - Teach formal rules of logic, Methods of hypothesis, and relevant statistical rules as well as encouraging participants to carefully reconsider their initial answers. -Provide feedback and coaching Conclusion on Causal Attribution: The fundamental attribution error can be overcome if we are aware of this bias, we are motivated to be accurate, we have corrective strategies and we take the time to consider information more carefully. 4


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