Uncertainty and focused attention: effects on attributions and uncertainty-reducing behaviours

Knobl, Nicole (2012). Uncertainty and focused attention: effects on attributions and uncertainty-reducing behaviours Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Knobl, Nicole
Thesis Title Uncertainty and focused attention: effects on attributions and uncertainty-reducing behaviours
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Tobin
Total pages 72
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Uncertainty is a psychological phenomenon that all people need to deal with in many aspects of life. If a person attributes uncertainty due to a lack of knowledge to themselves or to someone else, it may affect motivations to engage in uncertainty-reducing behaviours. The present online study investigated how situational factors, specifically focused attention, can affect the attributions people make for uncertainty, as well as how this may affect uncertainty-reducing behaviours. Ninety undergraduate psychology students participated and were asked to complete a writing task to give them a self-focus or a lecturer focus. Then they read a clear or unclear lecture script. Afterwards, participants completed a questionnaire about attributions of their own and the lecturer‟s effort and ability and about uncertainty reducing behaviours. An interaction between lecture type and focused attention was expected, such that self-focused participants would attribute their ease of understanding the clear lecture more to their own effort and ability compared to the unclear lecture. Similarly, the lecturer focused participants would attribute their ease of understanding the clear lecture more to the lecturer‟s effort and ability compared to the unclear lecture. As predicted, self-focused participants reported that their ability made it easier to understand the clear lecture relative to the unclear lecture. However only a main effect of lecture type was found on participants‟ attributions of the lecturer‟s ability, such that participants thought the lecturer‟s ability made it easier to understand the clear lecture relative to the unclear lecture, regardless of focus of attention. Additionally, it was found that lecturer focused participants or participants who read the unclear lecture reported that they were more likely to ask the lecturer to clarify the lecture content. These finding provide support for the proposition that situational factors such as focused attention can effect attributions for uncertainty and therefore uncertainty-reducing behaviours.
Keyword Uncertainty
Focused attention
Effects on attributions

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Mar 2013, 10:57:15 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology