Sedikides, C., & Anderson, C. A. (1992).

Causal explanations of defection: A knowledge structure approach.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 420-429.


Two experiments examined the construct of causal knowledge structure (CKS) in a social setting. The content, memorial properties, and judgmental consequences of subjects' CKSs regarding the defection of either Soviet citizens to the United States or American citizens to the Soviet Union were assessed through open-ended causal accounts (Experiment 1), intrusions in free recall, unsolicited attributions, open-ended attributions, and personality ratings (Experiment 2). Subjects tended to attribute the defection of Soviets to hardships their country imposed on them and the defection of Americans to characteristics of their personality. Memory intrusions indicated that subjects tended to falsely recall "problems" that Soviets had with their country and falsely recall personality "problems" that Americans had. An asymmetry between memorial and attributional effects was observed. Although memory intrusions occurred almost exclusively when subjects recalled the information after a week rather that immediately, the CKS-based attributional pattern for Soviet versus American defectors was apparent both immediately and after a 1-week delay.

©1992 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

For a pdf version of the article, click here.