Causal attributions explain why events and behaviors occur. Researchers typically distinguish between dispositional attributions (something about the person caused the event) and situational attributions (something about the environment caused the event). The current article reviews classic attribution theories and contemporary dual process models of person perception. It presents common attributional biases such as the correspondence bias, actor–observer effect, and self-serving attributions, and describes the conditions under which perceivers are motivated and are able to correct for such biases. Individual and cultural differences in attribution are considered. Lastly, the implications of attributions for motivation, well-being, academic performance, and marital satisfaction are discussed.
The Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, Second Edition is a comprehensive three-volume reference source on human action and reaction, and the thoughts, feelings, and physiological functions behind those actions. Presented alphabetically by title, 300 articles probe both enduring and exciting new topics in physiological psychology, perception, personality, abnormal and clinical psychology, cognition and learning, social psychology, developmental psychology, language, and applied contexts. First edition published 1994