Application of Attribution Theory

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David Hicks, an Australian, had been confined at Guantanamo Bay over six years. The reason that he was imprisoned is attempted to murder refusing to obey the law of war in 2001. According to the article “The case against David Hicks” on Sunday Mail by Akerman (2007), US Defence Departure presented that David Hicks “joined the terrorist organization Lashkar-e Tayyiba whose stated goals are attack and destroy Indians and their property in order to seize control of Indian-controlled Kashmir, and to violently oppose Hindus, Jews and Westerners.” (Akerman, 2007) Finally, the Northern Alliance captured him in Afghanistan in December of 2001. This essay will apply the attribution theory to the incarceration of David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay. It will examine the causes of how people perceive the event. Attribution theory is a study for understanding the causes of other’s performence or circumstances. It is stated by a psychologist, Fritz Heider, in 1958. He said that there are two types of attributions, which are internal and external. Internal attribution means the inside factor which is about the person, such as personality traits, efforts, intelligence and attitudes. External attribution means the outside factor which is about the situation, such as environment, luck, and even the level of task difficulty. People usually explain other’s failures by internal factors rather than external factors. We may have tendency to overvalue dispositional causes of other’s behavior without considering situational causes. That is because we tend to have bias in our perceptions. Therefore, the attribution errors exist. (Akerman, 2007) (Johnson, Mullick and Mulford, 2002)

For the causes on this event, people had different perceptions such as lacking of a fair trial, lacking of protection by government, influence of the background of his family, ignoring of human right in Cuba, or it is because his own choice to be a ‘terrorist’. (Despoja 2006) (Dutch 2007) (Rooney 2007) (Advertiser

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