Attribution Theory Covered Article Review

Pages: 6 (2558 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Psychology

The first one is the fact that both situational and dispositional causality are inversely linked. The diversity of these causes is considered to be within the dispositional and situational categories are another measurement problem (Solomon, 1978).

Another one is the fact that there are difficulties that arise with differentiating between the external and internal causes to the actor. There is also the low convergent validity. This validity is that of numerous closed ended attribution measures. Studies conducted reaffirm the deficiency of convergence among several close-ended measures as well as between open and closed measures. The second study looks into subject ratings. It involved looking into subject ratings belonging to closed ended attributions (Solomon, 1978). Oftentimes, they are considered indicators where a freely chosen dimension offers a limited representation for a subject's attribution thought.

Craig Anderson and William Deuser in their book looked into the primacy of control in causal thinking as well as the attribution style. They also majorly focused on the attribution functionalism perspective. The functionalist perspective tries to give an explanation on social institutions. This explanation attempts to explain them as a collective means used in meeting individual as well as social needs (Brown & Siegel, 1988). Emile Durkheim is the sole foundation of functionalist theory in sociology.

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The readings have put forward several predictions for attribution functionalism. These predictions suggest that the most significant dimension is controllability. This is what mainly guide's someone's future actions. Attribution functionalism links an action in a specified target behavior domain. There are other attribution dimensions. These include intentionally, and global stability. These play major roles. These roles include functional roles acting as primarily refinements. The dimension is often termed secondary in several situations. There is also the aspect of functionalism directed to the observer. This mainly focuses on giving responses to specific anticipated actions. People make attributions to their life events. People also make attributions about others. Functional analysis of attributions can target failure outcomes (Antaki, 1982).

Article Review on Attribution Theory Covered in the Assignment

Just as researchers, human beings are forced to choose whether to believe the verdict on the usefulness and validity of this theory. If we reject this theory, it only implies that we must go back to the drawing board to create ways of explaining how and why we make judgments on personality founded on behavior. On the other hand, if we believe that Heider's principles of attribution are factual beyond reasonable doubts, then nothing other than human decency demands human beings to refrain from inbuilt biases tilting human perceptions.

Explanations as well as the need for control

In light of these readings, the main idea that motivates people can play a role in influencing as well as distorting the manner in which people perceive events in the world. However, the entire attribution theory has thrown aside and neglected this is view. Neglecting the motivational influences shows general tendencies that are evident mainly in social psychology. This was mainly in the 1960s. The main significant impacts of attribution are huge control of the whole environment (Bains, 1983). Whereas knowledge is power, it is always important to recognize that there are certain knowledge forms that mean greater power more than others do.

Importance of attribution

Attribution theory helps to provide important methods used in examining as well as understanding the motivation in several settings. Attribution theory is extremely significant since it examines someone's beliefs on the reason as to why some events occur. It afterwards correlates the beliefs of someone to motivate subsequently. The major premise of the attribution theory is the fact that people need to understand their environments well. Understanding their environments and anything going on around them assists people to determine their behaviors (Bains, 1983). In a classroom setting, students develop causes for several of their experiences. Students also often tend to look into what influenced their past decisions as well as the ability that they might gain in order to control the future. An example is failing a test in class. The most definite cause will be to look into the probable attribute that led to the failure. These might narrow down to poor instruction, inability as well as lack of effort.


Although the attribution theory has been in existence for over 5o years now, it remains unclear how the findings of this theory support the specified conditions. This has generated major questions of falsifiability and verifiability of the attribution theory. Accumulating studies suggest that some researchers claim to have verified and supported the attribution theory. However, although reports indicate partial report and lack of support towards this theory, it is not easy to identify a scholar of merit claiming that this theory has fundamental flaws and that we need to replace some of its premises. Therefore, it is utmost importance that researchers examine this theory on a close criterion.


Anderson, C.A. & Deuser, W.E. (1993). The primacy of control in causal thinking and attributional style: an attributional functionalism perspective. In G. Weary, F. Gleicher & K.J. Marsh, Control motivation and social cognition. (pp. 94-121). New York: Springer-Verlag.

Antaki, C. (1982). A brief introduction to attribution and attributional theories. Attributions and psychological change: application of attributional theories to clinical and educational practice. London: Academic Press.

Bains, G. (1983). Explanations and the need for control. In M. Hewstone (ed) Attribution theory: social and functional extensions. (pp. 126-143). Oxford: Blackwell.

Bohner, G., Bless, H., Schwarz, N. & Strack, F. (1988). What triggers causal attributions? The impact of valence and subjective probability. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18, 335-345.

Brown, J.D. & Siegel, J.M. (1988) Attributions for negative life events and depression: he role of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 316-322.

Burns, M.O. And Seligman, M.E.P. (1989). Explanatory style across the life span: evidence for stability over 52 years. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 471-477.

Buss, A.R. (1978). Causes and reasons in attribution theory: a conceptual critique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 1311-1321.

Cutrona, C.E., Russell, D. And Jones, R.D. (1984). Cross-situational consistency in causal attributions: Does attributional style exist? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1043-1058.

Nesdale, A.R. (1983). Effects of person and situation expectations on explanation seeking and causal attributions. British Journal of Social Psychology, 22, 93-99.

Solomon, S. (1978). Measuring dispositional and situational attributions. Personality and Social Psychology… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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