PSY311chapter3 - Ch. 3 How (accurately) do we explain...

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Ch. 3 How (accurately) do we explain others? Our judgments of people depend on how we explain their behavior Misattribution: mistakenly attributing a behavior to a wrong source i.e. attributing a women’s friendliness to mild sexual interest Attribution theory: analyzes how we explain people’s behavior—attributing it to either internal dispositions (enduring traits, movies, and attitudes) or to external situations Situational attribution: attributing behavior to the environment i.e. attributing a child’s underachievement to social circumstances like Dispositional attribution: attributing behavior to the person’s disposition and traits i.e. attributing a child’s underachievement to lack of motivation or ability We tend to infer that people’s actions are indicative of their intentions and dispositions – we do it quite easily and often times in error Fundamental Attribution Error: the tendency for observers to underestimate situation influences and overestimate dispositional influences upon others’ behavior (aka correspondence bias b/c we so often see behavior as corresponding to disposition) Why do we make this error? Perspective and situational awareness Actor-observer difference We observe others from a different perspective than we observe ourselves To observers, another person grabs our attention and seems to cause whatever happens; as actors we’re inclined to attribute our own behavior to the situation which we’re attending Camera perspective bias Observing a situation from one viewpoint versus another can affect how the situation is perceived i.e. viewing a confession through a camera focused on the suspect, people tend to believe the confession is genuine while when viewing the confession with the camera focused on the interrogator, people tend to believe the confession was coerced Perspectives change with time As an observation of a person recedes into their memory as time passes, observers are often more willing to accredit the person’s behavior to situation Self-awareness While we tend to generalize about the behavior of others, we recognize the variance in our behavior Cultural Differences 1
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Ch. 3 Western culture – individualistic – predisposes people to assume the dispositional when explaining behavior Eastern Asian cultures – collectivistic – more sensitive to the importance of situation Kelly’s theory of attributions describes the reasonable ways in which we explain behavior using information about consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus (see figure 3.5 on p.102) Consistency – How consistent/usual is the person’s behavior? Distinctiveness
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This note was uploaded on 08/27/2008 for the course PSY 311 taught by Professor Nacoste during the Fall '08 term at N.C. State.

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PSY311chapter3 - Ch. 3 How (accurately) do we explain...

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