Discuss the types of attribution someone makes when they appraise a person’s behaviour. How may bias occur in their reasoning particularly if they have a very different background to the person they observe?
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
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Moreover, with the aim of discovering whether the dispositional rebound occurs amongst people of East Asian background and using the dispositional rebound as a tool to study the process of attribution, a study was carried out which participants consisting of 105 students from Hogeschool Gent, Belgium and 128 students from Kasestart University in Bangkok, Thailand, were given the task of judging a free or forced writer in the attitude attribution paradigm. The diagnosticity of the essays were manipulated in order to have participants also judge the essays based on whether they were diagnostic or not. Thai students were more sensitive to the manipulation of the diagnosticity of the essays, whilst the Belgian participants showed no sensitivity at all. Both ethnic groups displayed symptoms of the dispositional rebound when judging a diagnostic forced essay, however, Belgian participants were the only ones to display the dispositional rebound when judging a non-diagnostic essay.
Subsequently, participants were asked to judge a series of pictorially represented behaviours. Both Belgian and Thai participants displayed the dispositional rebound when the situational information was hidden. However, Thai participants no longer displayed the dispositional rebound when the situational information was made salient (also discovered by Choir & Nisbett in their 1998 study