SCLOA - Describe the role of situational & dispositional factors in explaining behaviour Flashcards Preview

IB Psychology HL > SCLOA - Describe the role of situational & dispositional factors in explaining behaviour > Flashcards

Flashcards in SCLOA - Describe the role of situational & dispositional factors in explaining behaviour Deck (12):


Heider (1958):
- attribution: attempting to explain observable behaviour
- they distinguish between causes of behaviour as internal (dispositional) or external (situational)

Assumptions made:
- people perform attributions bc they f„eel that there are motives behind most of„ their own behaviour
- people rely on their intuition to formulate cause --> effect of human behaviour


evolutionary explanation of attribution

- making attributions enables one to understand and make predictions about their environment
- this makes them feel in control of their surroundings (and derive comfort from this control)
- most cultures have constructed causal explanations „or the origin and meaning o„f life (e.g. myths, religions)


types of attributions

- situational
- dispositional


situational factors

when we attribute behaviour as due to external/social factors


dispositional attribution

when we attribute behaviour as due to internal characteristics (i.e. personality)


consistency of dispositional attribution

Epstein (1983):
- studied the behaviour of college students for about a month
- initially observed a lot of behavioural variability: participants did not necessarily act the same way in similar situations
- however, when behaviour was aggregated over a 2-week interval it was highly predictive of their behaviour in similar circumstances over another 2-week interval
- findings support the existence of traits provided the appropriate time perspective is adopted
- one's general tendencies will manifest themselves, albeit to different extents every situation


consistency of dispositional factors across time

Roberts and Del Vecchio (2000):
- conducted meta-analysis of 152 longitudinal personality studies
- found a high correlation between measures of personality obtained 7 years apart from the same sample


consistency of dispositional factors across mediums/situations

Gosling et al. (2010):
- participants self-reported on their FB activities
- and did an FFM test
- correlations found between participants' FFM scores and FB activities


role of situational factors in behaviour

Situational factors: group pressure, culture, weather, etc
- social influence can affect behaviour
- people don't always respond the same way in similar situations
- it can be argued that behaviour is more dependent on situational rather than dispositional factors

Studies: Milgram (1963; 1974)


Milgram (1963; 1974)

- conformity study
- the participant is under the impression they have to teach the confederate
- every time the confederate makes a mistake, participants are ordered by an authority figure to administer shocks to a confederate
- participants are led to believe the shocks are real (as the confederate appeared to react with pain)

- Milgram (1963;1974) is generally considered to support the effect of situational factors being greater than dispositional
- however, that is subject to dispute


Milgram (1963; 1974) evaluation - pro-situational

Benjamin and Simpson (2009):
- participants’ behaviour was under situational control (e.g. a legitimate authority’s orders), rather than dispositional control (e.g. the participants’ conscience)
- Milgram’s research on obedience is regarded by many as a prime example of the power of situational factors


Milgram (1963; 1974) evaluation - pro-dispositional

Sabini et al. (2001):
- both obedience and disobedience can take place in conformity studies
- whether an individual obeys or not depends on their personality (dispositional factor)
- virtually all the situational explanations can be explained as dispositional as well; unless somebody has the disposition to obey, no obedience will occur

Decks in IB Psychology HL Class (60):