Attribution is an essential element of human interaction. Attribution theory deals with the processes by which people form causal explanations of human behaviors (Heider, 1958). The goal of this research is to address gaps in our current understanding of attribution by clearly segregating a target person's perceived intentions from her situation and behavior. We aim to accomplish this goal by testing whether motive attributions are made based on the traits of targets, and by examining the concurrent effect of motive and trait information on attribution processes. Experiment 1 examined how people make trait attributions based on motives. I employed the Multiple Inference Model (MIM; Reeder, 2004) to further examine and clarify the role of perceived intention in attribution, and showed that multiple inferences influence attributions. In Experiment 2, I tested motive attributions based on confluence theory (Trafimow, 2009), thus reversing the direction of the attribution process (i.e., traits to motives). Results revealed that motive attributions were not made, suggesting that the attributional process cannot be reversed. Finally, and most significantly, the goal of Experiment 3 was to combine Experiments 1 and 2 and explore how motives and traits jointly influence the attribution process. The results of Experiment 3 demonstrated the concurrent influence of traits, motives, situation and behavior on trait and motive attributions. Implications for future attribution research are discussed.
|School:||New Mexico State University|
|School Location:||United States -- New Mexico|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
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