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Attributional Approaches in Various Theories

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Every Nonliving object, such as books, machines are subjected to the laws of nature, just like we living beings are, but they don’t have beliefs, motives, or intentions. But we living beings do, which is why we try to explain why people behave in certain ways. We make assumptions about the internal state of a person, and we try to explain their behavior or actions. Attribution theory tries to explain how we judge people differently, which depends on the meaning we give to a given behavior. According to this theory, we attempt to determine whether an individual’s behavior is internally or externally caused. In this essay, I will be explaining more about attribution, 2 theories of attribution, and the similarities and differences of these 2 theories.


Attribution theory was developed by Fritz Heider in 1958 and has been explained further in his book The Psychology of Interpersonal Relationship. Fritz Heider is also known as founding the father of attribution theory. Later this theory was developed by Weiner and now this theory has a standard in Social psychology. In social psychology, attribution is the system of inferring the causes of events or behaviors. In real life, attribution is something we all do every day, normally except any consciousness of the underlying strategies and biases that lead to our inferences. Attribution theory provides a set of ideas about how these kinds of inferences about the causes of action are made in the more usual situation of observing or hearing about a human being’s actions. It addresses our explanations of our own as well as other people’s behavior. For example, over the path of a normal day, you possibly make several attributions about your own behavior as nicely as that of the human beings around you. When you get a negative grade on a quiz, you would possibly blame the teacher for no longer appropriately explaining the material, totally pushing aside the truth that you did not study. When a classmate gets an excellent grade on the same quiz, you may attribute his top performance to luck, neglecting the reality that he has excellent find out about habits. Attribution is when our perception and judgments of a person and their actions are influenced by the assumption that we make. This theory deals with how a person explains the cause of their own or other people’s behavior. Attribution refers to the process of understanding and thinking about people within social situations, as one tends to try and explain the behavior of others. In 1958 the book about the psychology of interpersonal relationships, Fritz Heider suggested that individuals watch others, analyze their behavior, and come up with their possess common sense clarifications for such activities. Heider gathers these clarifications into either external attribution or internal attributions. External attributions are those that are faulted on situational strengths, whereas internal attributions are faulted on personal characteristics and traits. (Myers & Twenge, n.d.). There are several attribution theories, but I have chosen Jones and Davis correspondent inference theory and Kelly’s covariational theory. I will be furthermore explaining these 2 theories.

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Jones & Davis Correspondent Inference Theory

Jones and Davis 1965 thought that individuals pay specific consideration to deliberateness behavior, as restricted to accidental or careless behavior. This theory helps us to know the method of making an internal attribution. They say that we tend to do this when we see a correspondence between thought processes and behavior. For example, when we see a correspondence between somebody behaving in a friendly way and being a friendly individual. Dispositional attributions give us data from which we will make forecasts around a person’s future behavior. The correspondent inference theory depicts the conditions beneath which we make dispositional; qualities to the behavior we see as intentional. Davis utilized the term correspondent inference to allude to an event when an eyewitness gathers that a person’s behavior matches or compares with their identity. It is an elective term to dispositional attribution. According to Jones and Davis, observers work out why actions are performed by comparing the effects of the selected action with those of alternative unselected actions.

Free chosen behavior: Actions freely are considered to be more indicative of a person’s true personal characteristics than those that are coerced.

Social desirability: people are more likely to make dispositional attributions about socially undesirable behavior. For example, being polite towards people is a social norm, and if we act rudely towards people is undesirable behavior.

Noncommon effects: outcomes that could not be produced by any other actions. We analyze behavior, we compare the consequences of chosen behavior, we then infer the strength of the intention by looking for unique consequences.

Hedonistic Relevance: The event that the other person’s behavior shows up to be straightforwardly aiming to advantage or hurt us.

Personalism: In case the other person’s behavior shows up to be aiming to affect us, we accept that it is personal, and not a fair by-product of the circumstance we both are in.

Kellys Covariational Theory

And the next theory I’m gonna talk about is Kellys Covariational Model. Kelly’s covariation demonstrates is the best-known attribution theory. He created a consistent show for judging whether a specific activity ought to be attributed to a few characteristics of the individual or the environment. Kelley’s covariation theory provides a more general account of how people weigh up different possible causes of an observed action or experience. It assumes that an actor has responded in some way to an object in a particular situation. The term covariation basically implies that an individual has information from numerous perceptions, at distinctive times and circumstances, and can see the covariation of an observes impact and its causes. Kelly’s covariation theory says that there are three distinctive types of observations that we make when we attribute behavior to either external or internal sources.

Consensus: the extent to which others react the same way to some stimulus or entity. Jessica chews a gum after each meal. If the friend she is out with also chews gum

Consistency: The extent to which the person reacts to the stimulus in the same way on other occasions. Jessica chews gum every time she goes out to eat, or whenever she is with her friends.

Distinctiveness: the extent to which a person reacts the same way to other, different stimuli. If Jessica chews gum only when she eats outside.

When observing the behavior of others over time an understanding these factors can help one analyze behavior and can make attribution to either external or internal causes.

Similarities and Difference Between Corresponding Inference Theory and Covariations Theory

The theory of attribution has, since Heider, developed, Jones and Davis advised the correspondent theory of attribution. The model assumes that one associates certain behavior with certain characteristics based mostly upon past attributions, the main target of the work Jones and Davis revolves around the mental assessment of a person behavior, whereby the individual assesses another’s behavior with comparison to the expected behavior, this is often stated because of the non-common impact.

The idea that an individual will higher build attributions is given a lot of information research. Research conducted by Thibaut & Ricken (1955) supports this. Kelly and Michela discuss with this add their paper around attribution theory, and justify that their work is of importance. The study states that in any scenario, with 2 people, one gave the impression to be of a better standing and one among lower rank. The individual can attribute their reasons for serving to otherwise, typically consistent with their standing. It’s then clear that this analysis acts as criticism for attribution error. This allows for an additional comparative approach. staring at variations between Heider and Jones and Davis, we discover some fascinating points. though theories made by Heider are, as mentioned antecedently devised by a lot of abstract approach of thinking, they’re instructed to be a lot of applicable cross-culturally (Baxter & Blaithwaite, 2008). However, the Correspondent theory has received a lot of analysis. The argument exists that we tend every build attribution otherwise that involves totally different concerns (Coleman, 2011; Anderson & subgenus Chen, 2002) it might appear that in most cases, the concepts planned by Jones and Davis area unit overall quite applicable (Gough, McFadden and McDonald, 2013). Kelley & Michela (1980) more the data around attribution. Approaching from a perspective the same as that of Jones and Davis. They ask 3 vital options of the concepts planned by Jones and Davis (1965, cited in Kelley and Michela, 1980).

These being: data, beliefs, and motivation. These are all subject to variance about their impact and prominence in line with individual variations and social interaction (Anderson and subgenus Chen, 2002). though this appears like an essential approach to the work of Jones and Davis (1965), it’s going to be a lot correct to examine the work of Kelley (1967) associate degree enlargement of this work. For it served the operation of permitting affordable additions to be placed wherever they were ostensibly necessary. With this, the authors define the ‘General Model of Attributions’ (Kelley and Michela, 1980), within which they define variations between antecedents, attributions, and consequences. This area unit necessary options, for they outline clear boundaries between attribution theory and its neighboring, behavioral connected theory attributional theory. Attributional approaches represent a various and pioneering space of analysis, and therefore the study of attributions has helped us to know the various sorts of feelings and behaviors in an exceedingly wide selection of contexts. Inclinations for sure attributions do play a significant role in selections|many choices|many selections} starting from individual decisions to policy problems. Attribution theory starts from a priority with casual explanations and postulates ways that within which info should be weighted and compared to create such explanations doable herewith reflective upon the quality of the speculation itself.


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