Essay about Errors in Attribution

1409 Words Nov 1st, 2010 6 Pages
Discuss two errors in attributions

Attribution bias is the illogical reasoning behind people’s decisions about one’s own and others’ behaviour by giving objective views on situations, it is essentially faults in a process of elucidation and can lead to errors in interpretation of our own and other’s behaviour because: a) People are ‘cognitive misers’ – we do not examine all the evidence provided or we take mental shortcuts (linking to social cognition) to reach a conclusion, leading to wrong assumptions, and b) Insufficient information is available or some of the information available is more significantly portrayed than others.
There are two types of attribution biases. The first is dispositional, which blames personal
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The first study that supports the fundamental attribution error is Jones et al (’67), which was a study done on university students where students listened to speakers read out an essay aloud, which supported or rejected Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba. Before the experiment took place, the students were told that the essays were not the speakers’ own work. The outcome of the study was that the students listening believed that the speakers actually believed what they were reading, attributing to dispositional factors, and ignored the situational factor that the essay read out was not the speakers’ own work. The second supporting study is Lee et al (’77). This study also used university students where they randomly allocated the students into three groups: group one was the host (questioner), group 2 was the contestant (answerer) and group 3 was the audience (observer). Group one had to make up their own questions based on their own expertise. At the end of the study, group three was asked to rank group one and two by their intelligence. Group one, the host, came out as more intelligent, as the audience attributed to dispositional factors, that the host asked intellectual questions that they knew the answers to, and ignored the situational factor that that specific student was allocated to the role of the ‘host’ randomly and got to make up their own questions. Barjonet (’80) is the third study that supports the attribution theory.

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