Anderson, C.A., & Weiner, B. (1992).

Attribution and attributional processes in personality.

In G. Caprara & G.L. Van Heck (Eds.), Modern personality psychology: Critical reviews and new directions (pp. 295-323). New York: Harvester-Wheatsheaf.


Our main goal in this chapter is to describe the basic processes and consequences of explaining everyday events. Both attribution processes (i.e., How are attributions made?) and attributional processes (i.e., What are the consequences of particular attributions?) are examined. We propose that the attribution process consists of three steps: event characterization, problem formulation, and problem resolution. The attribution process is frequently carried out quickly, spontaneously, with little effort, and sometimes without awareness. All three steps may be influenced by a variety of personality-related variables such as past history and experience, causal schemata, and self-esteem. Key phenomena related to the attribution process include the hedonic bias, actor-observer perspective biases, and attributional style differences. The attributional process links specific attributions to a variety of consequences. Key attributional effects include emotional reactions to success and failure, suggest expectancy shifts, self-esteem shifts, emotional reactions to others, motivation, and behavioral performance. These empirical and theoretical developments have been especially employed in the understanding and modification of important psychological events in both achievement (e.g., school) and interpersonal (e.g., depression, loneliness, and shyness) settings.

© 1992 by Craig A. Anderson.

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