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Flashcards in 8B: Social Thinking Deck (31):

Attribution Theory

Holds that people attempt to understand behaviors of other people by attributing feelings, beliefs, and intentions to them


What is dispositional attribution?

When behavior is attributed to internal causes, such as qualities of person being observed


What is situational attribution?

When behavior is attributed to external causes, such as situations causing a person's behavior


Describe influences on whether attribution is dispositional or situational

Consensus cues: Related to how common a person's behavior is, or how much it differs from acceptable
Consistency cues: How consistent a person's behavior is over time
Distinctiveness cues: How comparable a person behaves in different scenarios


Correspondent Interference Theory

Focuses on intentionality of a person's behavior


Consensus Cue: When someone's behavior is more abnormal, how is it attributed?

More likely to be dispositional


Consistency Cue: When someone's behavior is more consistent with past behavior, how is it attributed?

More likely to be dispositional


Distinctiveness Cue: When someone's behavior is more varied, how is it attributed?

More likely to be situational


If behavior is with consensus, how is it attributed?

More likely to be situational


If behavior is inconsistent with past behavior, how is it attributed?

More likely to be situational


If behavior is less distinctive from normal behavior, how is it attributed?

More likely to be dispositional


Describe Fundamental Attribution Error

Our tendency to place less importance on the import or situation or context of a behavior, and instead place undue emphasis on dispositional or internal qualities in order to explain behavior

We tend to think people are how they act


Actor Observer Bias

Important for self-perception in creating attribution

We blame our own actions on situations, but the actions of others on personality


Self-Serving Bias

Our tendency to credit ourselves with successes and our failures to the actions of others or our situation


Optimism Bias

Belief that we are somehow exempt from bad things happening to us


Halo Effect

Also halo and horns effect, seeing other people in black white as either good or bad

For example, your obnoxious co-worker becomes a bad parent in your mind when she talks about her family


Describe Cultural Effect on Attribution

Difference in Western and Easter culture on how successes and failures are viewed

Americans place emphasis on internal qualities, inverse for Eastern



Preconceived notion about a person, group, or thing that are either irrationally positive or negative and are made before knowing the people


Social Factors of Prejudice

Class: One's socioeconomic status
Power: One's ability to achieve goals and control resources despite obstacles
Prestige: The level of respect given to a a person by others


Explain the role of emotion in prejudice

Prejudices often come from a place of frustration or fear, and from a desire to create a scapegoat


Explain role of cognition in prejudice

Our brains seek to organize data into categories, using shortcuts to classify things in ways that are often simpler than they are in reality

Distinctive people stick out in our minds and can be made to represent whole groups of people



Widely held but oversimplified image or understanding of a group of people or things based on outwardly obvious characteristics


Describe the Stereotype Content Model

Varying levels of competence and warmth categorize dominant views of groups held by society


Paternalistic Stereotype (pity)

Marked by low competence and high warmth (housewives, elderly, disabled)


Admiration Stereotype (pride)

High competence and high warmth, high social status and not competitive with in group (in-group, close allies)


Contemptuous Stereotype (disgust)

Low competence and low warmth, low social status and not competitive (welfare recipients, poor)


Envious Stereotype (envy)

High competence and low warmth, high social status and IS competitive with in-group (rich people, feminists)


Describe Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Process where stereotypes and perceptions of them can lead to behaviors to reinforce those stereotypes


Stereotype Threat

Feeling that people can have of being at risk of confirming or exemplifying negative stereotypes about a group they belong to



Evaluation of other's cultures based upon preconceptions and ideas that come from standards and customs of one's own culture


Cultural Relativism

Understanding that other activities and behaviors should be evaluated through their own culture, other cultures are not better or worse-- just different