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Looking at behavior across the levels of analysis
Errors in attribution
Topic 2 - Errors in attribution
Discuss two errors in attributions
Crane and Hannibal pages 104 - 106
In your notes, write down the basic ideas of each of the following theories:
Fundamental attribution error
Fundamental attribution error
Look specifically at the study by Lee et. al. (Crane and Hannibal, p. 105)
Write a brief summary of the study, including one sentence about each of the following:
aims and context
Identify 2 limitations
Identify 2 strengths
Identify 2 limitations of the experimental method in general (use the
text as well as Crane and Hannibal for q. 3 and 4)
Identify 2 strengths of the experimental method
To what extent might this error be influenced by culture? What evidence can you find for your hypothesis?
Share your answers to Parts 1 and 2 on googledocs, and create a group response for Part 3
Make sure you share your document with me at
1 group response
for all the above sections on your googledoc
Jones, E. E. and Harris, V. A. (1967). The attribution of attitudes.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 3,
(after group discussion)
Definition of FAE
overestimation of personality (dispositional) traits over environmental factors when looking for explanations of people's behavior
an individual will place more emphasis on a person's personality than on the context of the situation - we make judgments about people's personality based on the context we see them in
think about what you leave out when you don't consider the role played by the situation (eg. is a game show host really intelligent, or do you just think this because of the role you see them in)
Empirical evidence of FAE (paragraph 1)
Ross, et al (1977)
18 students from Standford university
simulated quiz game
randomly assigned to role of questioner or contestant, working in pairs
questioners were consistently rated superior in knowledge
Jones and Harris (1967)
Fidel Castro essay story (p. 108)
no matter what the condition, participant's ratings demonstrated that they thought essays represented actual views of the writer
ignored the context of the 2nd condition where writers had no choice about being pro or anti-Castro
Limitation - FAE does not always occur - other factors are involved (Law p. 108)
Fein et al (1990)
participants - US students
read an essay written by 'Rob'
condition 1 - participants told that Rob had to choose a 'for' or 'against' view
condition 2 - participants told that Rob produced an essay expected by his professor and took the professor's point of view
no FAE demonstrated -> indicates that if an ulterior motive is perceived, less likely to make dispositional attributions
Review your definition of a 'self-serving bias'
(Crane and Hannibal, pages 105 - 106)
Dunn (1989) notes that students often have trouble recognizing the self-serving attributional bias in their own behavior, especially when it extends beyond the internal-external dimension related to success and failure on a particular task...
students should consistently list more strengths than weaknesses
Dunn, D. S. (1989). Demonstrating a self-serving bias.
Teaching of Psychology
Did this apply to our classes?
Mean number of strengths and weaknesses
Reflection on class activity
Why did students in our Psychology classes not produce the same results as students in North American classes?
Consider the impact of culture
Essential question: How does the cultural environment influence individual behavior? (Sociocultural learning outcome)
Matsumoto and Juang, pages 404 - 417
Using the theory of 'self-serving bias', discuss to what extent attributional biases are culture bound.
Your answer should compare American biases to at least 2 other nations.
(Review the command term ‘to what extent’)
Step 1 – Group discussion (15 minutes)
Step 2 – Writing (30 minutes)
Please complete the writing at home - word processor (max. 500 words)
Links to Darwin and the biological level of analysis
(We will link to this when we study the biological level of analysis)
survival of the fittest
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"