Thursday, October 3, 2013
What is attribution theory? What is the difference between dispositional and situational attribution? Which type of attribution error are you most likely to make about others? Please give an example.
Attribution theory is the theory of how individuals explain the behavior of others. Individuals explain the behavior of others by attributing said behavior to either external situations or internal dispositions, such as attitudes, motives, and enduring traits (Myers, 2010). Two types of attribution are dispositional and situational attribution. The difference between the two is that dispositional attribution is a means to attribute an individual's behavior to disposition and traits; while, situational attribution is to attribute an individual's behavior to the environment. The fundamental attribution error, also referred to as the correspondence bias is one type of attribution error made by individuals when explaining the behavior of others. For this type of attribution error, individuals attribute the behavior of others more so to an individual's attitudes and inner traits and do not consider situational constraints that may be obvious or not.
This type of attribution error is one that I am most likely to make. I made this attribution error toward a former friends wife, who at the point and time seemed to have a very negative and harsh attitude toward my former friend (her husband). I completely ignored the some situational constraints and did not know about others, which were that the former friend constantly had affairs with other women, sometimes treated his wife and her son harshly, and often lied to his wife for various reasons.
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.