attribution theory


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attribution theory

a collection of theories, originating in the work of F. Heider (The Psychology ofInterpersonal Relations, 1958), which seek to explain how people attribute causes to others’ and their own behaviour.

A distinction is made between internal or dispositional causes, located within the individual, e.g. ‘she failed the exam because she is lazy’, and external or situational causes, e.g. ‘he was late for work because of the traffic jam’. Attributional errors are made when we favour dispositional over situational explanations (the fundamental attribution error). We are also more likely, with regard to our own behaviour, to make a dispositional attribution for success and a situational attribution for failure (the self-serving bias). Attribution theory provides a useful framework for the analysis of everyday explanations of social issues such as unemployment, criminality, and health and illness-related behaviours.

References in periodicals archive ?
We have advanced the current theoretical framework by applying attribution theory to a new context of innovation implementation in organizations.
As research on attribution theory developed, Weiner (1985) noted three dimensions of people's attributions, locus, controllability, and stability.
The attribution theory, according to Graham and Weiner (1996), is most often applied to academic settings.
The construct validation and application of a questionnaire of attribution theory for foreign language learning (ATFLL).
2.1 Theoretical background of attribution theory and its relation to CSR
The third model accounted for the basic theoretical relationship suggested by attribution theory and color-in-context theory, whereby negative emotion mediates the relationship between color and perceptions.
On the other hand, action descriptions are of primary interest from the viewpoint of attribution theory. As Palmer stressed, "What appear to be simple action descriptions in novels often contain a good deal of explicit information about characters' consciousness" (85).
Pintrich and Schunk (1996) posited that two assumptions can be aligned to attribution theory. The first assumption being that a motivational goal exists in individuals who seek to master themselves and the environment around them.
"Spiritual Dreams and the Nepalese: Attribution Theory and the Dream-Related Cognition of Nepali Christians and Hindus."
Attribution theory focuses on how entities interpret events (such as FFE activities) and attribute outcomes of the events to various causes (Heider, 1958).
For example, much of the first and last part of Rethinking Relationships is a good review of attachment theory, symbolic interactionism, implicit theories of personality, attribution theory, social construction, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the rhetorical situation, the power of language and metaphor, and nonverbal communication.