PPT Discuss two errors in attributions

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Social Psychology
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Discuss Two Errors in Attributions By Mr Daniel Hansson

Questions for Discussion 1. Do humans have a need of finding 2.

causes of everything? Why or why not? How reliable are humans’ ability at making judgments of causation?

Important definitions • Attribution (psychology): How

individuals explain causes of events, other’s behavior, and their own behavior • Attribution error: When individuals make faulty assumptions of the causes of events, other’s behavior, and their own behavior

Examples of Errors of attribution • Fundamental •

attribution error Illusory correlation

Milgram’s experiment was inspired by trial of Adolf Eichmann. During World War II, Eichmann was in charge of all trains that would carry Jews to the death camps in Poland and Hungary. As his defense, Eichmann claimed that he was merely following orders. Why do you think he acted like he did?

Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) • To make internal, dispositional attributions for

others’ behavior rather than situational ones, even when there may be equally convincing evidence for both types of cause (e.g. thinking

that Jim Carrey is as crazy as the characters he is playing)

• May be due to the tendency of western culture

to hold individuals accountable for their behavior or because we have too little information about the person’s situation

Research Supporting FAE • Jones & Harris (1967): Subjects read pro and anti- Fidel Castro essays. When the subjects were told that the writers freely choose their subject, they were more likely to rate the writer as having a positive attitude to Castro. However, if they were told that the writer’s opinion were chosen at random they still rated the writer as having a positive attitude to Castro.

Research Supporting FAE • Lee et. al. (1977): University students were

randomly allocated to one of three roles: a game show host, contestants of the game show or members of the audience. The game show host constructed the questions and the audience watched the game show through the series of questions. When the game show was over, the audience were asked to rank the intelligence of the people who had taken part. They consistently ranked the game show host as the most intelligent.

Illusory correlation • When people tend to overestimate a link

between two variables or see a relationship where no relationship exists (e.g. handwriting and personality, the end

of the world and the year 2012, palm lines and personality, astrology sign and personality, stereotypes)

Illusory correlation • Illusory correlation is thought to occur because

we are more likely to form connections between factors that easily comes to our mind and are easily imaginable (e.g. rare events) Illusory correlation can also be explained by confirmation bias. Individuals tend to favor information that confirms their hypotheses and disregard information that doesn’t

Research supporting the illusory correlation phenomenon • Chapman & Chapman (1967): Beginning

clinicians observed draw-a-person test drawing randomly paired (unknowingly to participants) with symptom statements of patients. Although the relationship between symptoms and drawings were absent, participants rated a high associative strength between symptom and drawing characteristics (e.g. paranoia and drawing big eyes)

Research explaining illusory correlation Hamilton & Gifford (1976): Hamilton & Gifford hypothesized that rare events are more likely to be linked because they are more memorable. In order to test this hypothesis, participants read a series of favorable (e.g. visited a sick friend at the hospital) and unfavorable statements (e.g cheated on an exam) of individuals from a majority group or a minority group. The unfavorable statements were more rare than the favorable statements. In accordance with Hamilton and Gifford’s hypothesis, participants were more likely to associate unfavorable statements with the minority group when asked about their first impression of the majority and minority groups

Evaluation of concepts - Strengths • Empirical support • Can be supported by schema theory • Usefulness (reliability of diagnosis, formation of stereotypes)

Evaluation of concepts - Limitations • Methodological problems of the studies

(e.g. generalisability, ecological validity) • Cross-cultural studies in India (Miller 1984) and Japan (Weiss 1984) show that the fundamental attribution error is less common in collectivistic cultures • Details of the processes underlying illusory correlation are still largely unknown

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