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Attribution Theory Explained

Attribution theory is concerned with how people account for actions and events. In both cases, researchers assume that the social object or event towards which participants have different attitudes, and which participants attribute to different causes, is itself consensual.

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Attribution theory was developed from the theories of social psychologists Fritz Heider, Harold Kelley, Keith Davis, and Edward Jones. Attribution theory is a major area of research in social psychology that has several variations and has changed substantially since it was first proposed in the 1940s. Attribution theory involves the way in which people explain behavior. There are two basic categories of attributions, internal (dispositional) causes and external (situational)
causes. Attribution theory is based on the premise that our attribution processes differ, depending on whether we are trying to estimate the causes of others' behavior versus attributions about our own behavior, a discrepancy known as the actor-observer effect. Attribution theory is concerned with how people account for actions and events. In both cases, researchers assume that the social object or event towards which participants have different attitudes, and which participants attribute to different causes, is itself consensual. That is, even though people hold different attitudes and attributions in relation to ...

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Attribution theory involves the way in which people explain behavior.

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