Attribution theory focuses on ways in which we gather and process information in order to come up with judgements and explanations for people’s behaviours and personalities or as explained by Fiske & Taylor (1991) “how the social perceiver uses information to arrive at casual explanations for events. It examines what information is gathered and how it’s combined to form casual judgements”. There have been many studies aimed at explaining the main errors people make when making inferences about people’s behaviour and whether culture has an effect on how we make attributions.
There are two types of attributions, internal attributions, also known as dispositional attributions, are when we attribute behaviour to person’s disposition (mental state, personality, emotions, characteristics, etc.). External attributions (also known as situational attributions) can be explained as attributing behaviour to the situation or the environment in which the behaviour took place. Correspondent inference (Jones & Davis, 1965) can be explained as when the observer infers that the actor’s behaviour corresponds with their motives (an internal attribution). A correspondence bias is when the observer over-attributes the cause of behaviour to dispositional factors at the expense of situational antecedents. This can also be explained as the fundamental attribution error (Lee Ross, 1977).
Another believed to be error in attribution is suppressing dispositional inferences during social judgement, which leads to the dispositional rebound (Geeraert & Yzerbyt, 2007), meaning relying on dispositional inferences in subsequent judgements.It is believed that a judgement begins with a dispositional bias and situational information is to correct the initial judgement (Quattrone, 1992), this is
References: Andrews, P. W. (2001). The psychology of social chess and the evolution of attribution mechanisms: Explaining the fundamental attribution error. Evolution & Human Behavior, 22, 11-29. Geeart, N. & Yzerbyt, V. Y. (2007). Cultural differences in the correction of social inferences: Does the dispositional rebound occur in an independent culture? British Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 423-435.