New Directions in Attribution Research - Vol. 1

New Directions in Attribution Research - Vol. 1

New Directions in Attribution Research - Vol. 1

New Directions in Attribution Research - Vol. 1

Excerpt

Until recently, attribution was one of the few areas in social psychology where systematic theorizing outstripped empirical efforts. As is often the case, however, provocative theorizing provided the impetus as well as the context for the emergence of empirical investigations. Since the publication of an earlier collection of papers on the topic (Jones, Kanouse, Kelley, Nisbett, Valins, & Weiner, 1972), attribution has become one of the most heavily researched areas in social psychology. The present volume was undertaken because of the burgeoning amount of work being done in the mid-1970s on attributional phenomena and the subsequent need for an updated volume dealing with these phenomena.

Definitions of the term "attribution" have varied considerably and are therefore not easily dealt with in a cursory fashion. Attributional approaches, which originally grew out of work on person perception, generally refer to the conditions associated with the individual's attempt to find structure in his own behavior and the behavior of others. In essence, attributional approaches see the "man on the street" as operating like a scientist, obtaining information from his social surroundings and trying to discern the causes and consequences of ongoing behavioral and environmental events. In no small way, these approaches reflect the rich cognitive emphasis in the field of contemporary psychology as a whole.

In this collection, we have attempted to bring together works which provide a broad sample of current attributional research. Additionally, we have included some articles that are designed to balance these more data oriented chapters by providing broader theoretical and historical perspectives. The major themes of this book are the personal and interpersonal consequences of attributional processes. In each chapter authors deal with the application of an attributional framework as a means of answering particular psychological questions. For example, under what conditions does a person attribute freedom to himself . . .

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