Kelley's Theory of Causal Attribution

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Attribution theory Pages: 6 (1086 words) Published: April 3, 2012
Chapter Chapter


Perception - we select, organize, & interpret information - active processing of sensory inputs - very subjective Social Perception - the process of combining, integrating, and interpreting information about others to gain an accurate understanding of them Personal and Social Identity

Attribution -determine the causes behind others’ behavior Correspondent Inferences - judging people’s dispositions, traits, and characteristics from their behavior Challenges in judging others accurately - many possible causes of behavior - people sometimes disguise their true characteristics Making accurate inferences about others - focus on behavior in situations with low demand for social acceptability - focus on behavior for which there is only one logical explanation

Causal Attribution of Responsibility Internal causes of behavior -the individual is responsible for the action External causes of behavior - actions are due to situations over which the individual has no control Kelly’s theory of causal attribution: Consensus - extent to which other people behave in the same manner as the person who we’re judging Consistency - extent to which the person who we’re judging acts the same way at other times Distinctiveness - extent to which a person behaves in the same manner in other contexts

Kelly’s Theory of Causal Attribution: A Summary

You observe an individual complaining about the food, service, and decor in a restaurant. To answer “Why?” you note that...

You conclude that...

No one else complains (consensus is low)

This person always complains in this restaurant (consistency is high)

This person also complains in other settings (distinctiveness is low)

S/he complained because s/he is difficult to please (internal attribution)

Several others also complain (consensus is high)

This person always complains in this restaurant (consistency is high)

This person does not complain in other settings (distinctiveness is high)

S/he complained because the restaurant is terrible (external attribution)

Stereotypes: Fitting Others into Categories: Example: Construction Worker, Nurse, Accountant Assuming all members of a specific group share similar traits & are prone to behave in a similar way Why do we rely on stereotypes? Dangers of using stereotypes in organizations - run the risk of causing miscommunication and conflict Self Fulfilling Prophecy: Positive and Negative

Perceptual Biases Fundamental attribution error - tendency to attribute other’s actions to internal causes while largely ignoring external factors Why? Halo effect - tendency for overall impressions of others to affect objective evaluations of their specific traits Positive halo Negative halo Why?

The Halo Effect: A Demonstration of Positive Halo
Characteristic 1 low Characteristic 2 low Characteristic 3 low Characteristic 4 low high high high high

The more favorably someone is perceived on some characteristics, the more likely that s/he will be perceived favorably on another characteristic, too. Characteristic N low high

Perceptual Biases (cont.) Similar-to-me-effect - greater empathy for and better relations with others who seem similar Leniency: consistently evaluating other people or objects in an extremely positive fashion Central Tendency avoiding all extreme judgements and rate people and objects as average or neutral Recency tendency to remember recent information more easily and allowing it to influence how a person or object is evaluated

Performance Appraisal An inherently biased process -rater’s initial expectations -similar-to-me bias -attributions made about performance Impression Management (Employment Interview) Self-promotion - asserting that one has desirable characteristics Corporate Image - result of impression management by organizations - strongly relates to people’s interest in seeking employment with...
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