Theories of Causal Attribution in Social Cognition

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Theories of Causal Attribution in Social Cognition In social cognition causal attribution is one the most important models. In causal attribution we attempt to find cause-effect relationships between human behavior and possible causes which made it happen. There are seven different theories of causal attribution, and I shall talk about the Kelley’s covariation model and then talk about some biases in attribution. Kelley’s covariation model Kelley’s covariation model is a form of attribution model, possibly the best known of them all. According to his model, an observer attributes the behavior of people either to their person, the behavior is due the individual characteristics of the person performing the act, entity, the behavior is caused by the target, or circumstance, the behavior is caused by the circumstances of the event. When doing this, the observer uses three types of information, although not all of this information is always available. These are: Consistency, whether the behavior is consistent across different situations, Distinctiveness, whether the persons reaction is the same in all cases or not, and Consensus, do other people react the way to similar stimuli. For example , A pushes B: Interpretation of Information Causal Information available Consensus Distinctiveness Consistency Attribution Nobody else pushes B High Person A also pushes other people Low A has previously pushed B High Others push B Low Entity A pushes only B High A has previously pushed B High Nobody else pushes B Low Circumstance A pushes only B High A has not previously pushed B Low From our example, we can, by way of cau... ... middle of paper ... ...ior, and so we are less likely to use dispositional explanations when describing our own behavior. Nevertheless, even when we get to know other people better we are likely to use situational attributions to explain their behavior. (Although from now on, I hope I will.) In conclusion, these different theories all help us to understand human behavior a bit better, but none of these theories are a panacea to understanding all of human behavior. More research is required in order to develop more and more theories which might help us to understand it (human behavior) even better. Bibliography: Hogg, M.A.; Vaughan, G.M. (1998) Social Psychology, 2nd edition. Prentice Hall. Christensen, I.P.; Wagner, H.L.; Halliday, M.S. Instant Notes Psychology (2001) BIOS Scientific publishers Limited.
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