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Theory of Correspondence Inference

How can correspondent inference theory explain the behavior of President Barack Obama. What is one limitation of the theory in explaining the behavior of President Obama?

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(1) How can the Correspondent Inference theory explain the behavior of President Barack Obama?

The Correspondent inference theory refers to how we make intentional attributions about a person when there are: (a) few non-common effects [effects produced by a particular course of action that could not be provided by an alternate course of action], and (b) the behavior is unexpected ( Gawronski (2004) asserts that social psychology research has shown that perceivers draw correspondent dispositional inferences from observed behaviors even when the behavior was highly constrained by situational factors (i.e., correspondence bias). For example, according to Gawronski, perceivers consider relational factors to have an impact on human behavior, which explains the fundamental attribution error. Ultimately, correspondence bias results from a number of associations that perceivers make about the cause of situational influences on human behavior. To simplify, when individuals make attributions about other people, they compare their actions with alternative actions, and evaluate the choices persons have made. In short, individuals make inferences about what action another person hopes to achieve by a particular action.

Brown (2011) examined interview discourses from White-middle elites to review how they imaged race through Obama. He defines White-male elites as those who self-identified as White men who work in high profile positions. In other words, White-male elites occupied privileged positions in society (536). In positioning Obama among great-man leaders, the study showed that dominant racial ideologies become legitimized and rewarded when members of the dominant group desire to construct racial meanings onto a popular Black leader. In efforts to characterize leadership and heroism, according to Brown, leaders are considered to possess the valor and foresight to create a U.S. democracy. For example, such leaders include Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy. Brown asserts that contemporary views of leadership are based on Thomas Carlyle's (1841) Great-Man theory.

The theory held that certain men changed the history of the world through their charisma, intelligence and Machiavellian personalities. The great-man ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the Theory of Correspondening Inference related to the behavior of President Obama.