Evaluation Of Attribution Theories

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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.

The key concepts behind the idea of attribution theories is to question what was the cause why you chose it and what information led you there. [1]Heider in his description tells us that we make judgements based on either internal/disposition causes, which are responsible for the motivating behaviour located in the persons personality or his apparent mood or on external situational causes which are caused by the environment. External attribution tells how the person acts in a situation outside the persons control whereas internal attribution is telling us
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[28]This is known as coding and is the process to decide what codes to make use of, doing the coding itself to the process of statistical analysis is known as content analysis. [29]More than one coder is used to, avoiding subjective bias, establishing levels of agreement between the two. [30]The importance of content analysis is that it opens the possibility of using ‘ real life’ data as with Lau and Russell’s study which looks at the reaction of managers, baseball players and football players to whether they win or lose. [31]At the same time this process retains the advantages of quantification and a degree of experimental control. This Content analysis promises even greater ecological validity than studies based solely on materials and situations manufactured by researchers. [32]This study found that there was a greater tendency to attribute wins to internal factors than to external factors but that internal attributions were made more often than external attribution for both wins and losses. [33] This differs from other studies as they are more inclined towards external attribution as an explanation of failure. [34]Cognitive bias has been given to explain the idea of a ‘self serving bias’ in that we expect to succeed because we make the effort to rather than external factors having any influence. When we fail despite our efforts however it