- Interpersonal Communication
Goals and Objectives:
- Students understand how attributions vary.
- Students can identify common biases in our attributions.
Rationale: Attribution theory is one of the most well-supported theories in psychology and has a significant impact on the processes we use when interpreting the messages other people send.
- Classroom computer and projector
Outline of the Lesson
- Review of previous session’s content
- Attribution Theory234
- Locus of Control Internal vs. External to the actor.
- Stability Whether the behavior is caused by a temporary or permanent condition.
- Specificity Unique to the individual, or global
- Controllability Whether the cause can be changed by the actor.
- The Fundamental Attribution Error5
- A tendency to rely on personality explanations when situational explanations are appropriate.
- The Self-serving Bias[^sedikides-etal-1998-JPSP]
- Applies to the self and relationally close others.
- A tendency to attribute positive experiences to internal causes and negative experiences to external causes.
- The process of Attribution is typically:
- Conducted without identifying specific reasons/explanations.
- Hands on group work: “Exploring Attribution Theory and Bias”61
- Debrief the activity
- Why did some groups attribute differently?
- How might you have attributed differently?
- Identify other causes that would be categorized differently.
- Lesson closing
Students often have difficulty identifying alternate explanations that are truly different on some dimensions.
Variations and Accommodations
Follow guidance from local accommodation authorities.
- HO ^
- These dimensions are based on those from Weiner, but modified by Wood. ^
- Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion. Psychological Review, 92, 548–573. ^
- Wood, J. T. (2008). Communication mosaics, 5th ed, Belmont, CA: Thompson-Wadsworth. ^
- Tetlock, P. E. (1985). Accountability: A social check on the fundamental attribution error. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48, 227–236. ^
- Robinson, J. A. (2017). Exploring attribution theory and bias. Communication Teacher, 31, 210–213. https://doi.org/10.1080⁄17404622.2017.1358387 ^
- VA ^