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Application of Theories and Attribution Theory

Application of Theories/Attribution Theory is one of the hallmarks within the field of social cognition. Theories such as Heider's Naive Psychology Theory, Jones and Davis' Correspondent Inference Theory, and Kelley's Covariation Model provide seminal contributions to this field. Although these theories differ in level of complexity and detail, all attempt to provide a consistent explanation why humans behave as they do.

Vignette #1: Molly, 62-year-old Caucasian American Female

Molly exited her doctor's office and promptly lit a cigarette. In doing so, she missed her bus and would have to wait an additional 30 minutes for the next one. She thought about Dr. Wilson, her primary care physician, who was not too concerned about her smoking. Then, she thought about Dr. Smith, her cardiologist, who had clearly stated that she needs to stop smoking. Waiting for the next bus was no problem for Molly; she could enjoy a second cigarette.

Consider two attribution theories and analyze the constructs of each theory.

Apply the key constructs of the theories to the vignette, and analyze how the theory may explain what occurred.

Analysis your academic comparison (such-as social psychology comparison), and also elaborate on the vignette, including how the person might behave if he or she was in a different situation or setting.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hi and thank you for your trust. In this particular task, you are being asked by your professor to put together a lengthy paper on the topic of attribution by applying it to the analysis of a vignette. Clearly, 2000 words is a lengthy material but if you break it down to the tasks at hand, you will find that is about enough. The parts of your paper is already laid out in the problem set - you just need to use this as outline basis. I suggest:

1. On Attribution theory - 200 words
2. 2 Theories - 400 words, an explanation for each
3. Vignette - 100 words
4. Application of each theory to the vignette - 300 words
5. Constructs of each theory as applied in the vignette (concentrate on the fundamental constructs/ideas per theory) - 300 words each times 2 (350 words)
6. Explanation of each theory for the situation - 350 words
7. Social psychology comparison - reaction to other situations based on the vignette (give a sample) - 300 words

As you know, I cannot complete/write this material for you for a host of ethical and professional reasons. However, I can provide you with ideas that can be the 'seed' for each of the suggested sections in the paper. You can use the listed resources to further explore the topic. Good luck with your studies.

AE 105878/Xenia Jones

On Attribution Theory

Attribution theory, in social psychology, is the manner by which individuals use all the information available at hand to interpret the situation, make meaning and infer the causes or reasons behind certain events. The causal explanation in attribution theory is all derived from information available to the person, whether complete or incomplete. Attribution theory looks at the way information is gathered and then utilised to make meaning (McLeod, 2007). Attribution is something that we all do in our everyday lives. We decide on available information on hand and this is the basis of our explanation of why things or situations are.

Consider for example a situation where a child is crying in a corner of the room and the parent just got in the room wondering what all the crying was about. The parent looks at the child who is distraught and a broken toy on the floor. The parent right away attributes the crying to have been caused by an incident that lead to the broken toy. It might be that the cause is altogether different (i.e. the child is crying because he or she has an upset belly) but the father right away attributes the cause to the broken toy because it is what he immediately sees and 'puts 2 and 2 together' in such a manner.

In attribution, what is available, what is seen - these are the information utilised to arrive upon an explanation/conclusion about a situation. There are a host of attribution theory models. The theory arose from the work of Austrian psychiatrist Fritz Heider, a Gestalt school member. He first came up with the term 'attribution theory' to explain the way people describe and make sense of others as well as themselves in 1958 via his work 'The psychology of interpersonal relations'. Heider wanted to explore how we perceive ideas about certain objects if - how we decide the color, texture and appearance of objects and things - if such ideas only exist in the mind. His ideas were further taken up by the likes of Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner.

Weiner utilised Heider's principles to explore motivational and emotional logical consequence of academic performance - both failure and success (1986). Kelley on the otherhand worked on the logic of attribution and developed a covariation model, also known as the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) which suggested that people attribute behavior to what in their perception it covaries with (Kelley, 1973). In the following discussion, I have chosen to delve into 2 of the attribution theory models for the purpose of exploring them and utilising same in analysing a particular vignette.

Kelley's Covariation Model

Also known as the Analysis of Variance or ANOVA, this particular model was proposed by Kelley (1973), a model which focuses both on social perception (ways of coming to understand others) and self perception (how we come to perceive ourselves). Kelley (1973) explains that human beings attribute events to elements that over time it covaries with - elements that ...

Solution Summary

The application of theories and attribution theory are examined.