Evaluate the Contribution of ‘Attribution Theories’ and Related Research in Helping Us to Understand the Way in Which People Perceive and Explain Their Social Environment.

Topics: Attribution theory, Self-serving bias, Fundamental attribution error Pages: 4 (1124 words) Published: September 5, 2010
Evaluate the contribution of ‘attribution theories’ and related research in helping us to understand the way in which people perceive and explain their social environment.

Through out our everyday lives, we spend most of our time with other people. Attribution theories purpose that people distinguish between internal or dispositional factors and external or situational factors in their own attempts to understand behaviour. One of the first theorists in this area was Heider. As cited by Meill, Phonix and Thomas Book 1 Chapter 7, Heider argued that all attributions of causality could be understood in terms of these two sets of factors and saw them as representing a dimension of causality, the more we attribute a persons behaviour to their inner disposition, the less we attribute it to the external situation they are in. To evaluate the contribution of attribution theories and related research, the theorists who put forward ideas relating to attribution after Heider need to be looked at.

Harold Kelley (1967) extended the attribution theory in various ways. He argued that the ways in which people make casual attributions depends on the information available to them. Kelley developed an account of how we use information in casual reasoning known as the covariation model. The covariation mode purposes that we make sense of current behaviour by considering information from the past and the present relating to is consistency, consensus and distinctiveness (C.C.D.). This information about C.C.D. is used to make a dispositional or situational attribution. One major advantage to Kelley’s theory is that it offers precise and testable predictions about how different levels of C.C.D. information should lead to different attributions.

Mc Arthur (1972) tested Kelley’s corvariaton model of attribution with a social experiment based on vignettes using sixteen different behavioural events. Mc Arthur wanted to test the effect of these different types and levels of...

References: Phoneix,A(2007). Identities and diversities. In D. Miell, A . Phoenix,&K.Thomas (Eds). Mapping Psychology (2nd ed.,pp.43-95).Milton Keynes. The Open University.
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