Harvard University Research Perspectives on the Human Psychology Discussion
This week’s writing assignment is designed to give us some practice with the concepts of attributions, discussed in Chapter 6 (Links to an external site.). Specifically, we want to explore the nature of our initial responses with more controlled ones and think about what the consequences of such interpretations might be.
To begin, read through each of the short scenarios below and write down the first explanation that comes to mind for the person’s behavior.
- You notice that a married woman comes over to your single male neighbor’s house a couple nights a week and stays for a few hours. Why is she at his apartment?
- You are in line in Walgreen’s at 6 am and notice that the person in front of you, who smells like stale liquor, is buying aspirin. Why is the man buying aspirin?
- You are out in Little Italy and see a man chasing a woman down an alley. Why is the man running after the women?
- You took your car for a car wash earlier this morning and now can’t find the $10 that was in the cup holder. What happened to your $10?
Now, go back and read through what you came up with. Identify the type of attribution (Links to an external site.) for each, is it internal or external? If you came up with an internal attribution, then think of an external one and record and if you wrote down an external one, think of an internal one and record it.
The last thing you should do is evaluate your attributions. That is, evaluate whether or not your responses were consistent with the Fundamental Attribution Error (Links to an external site.) and offer some discussion on what you came up with and why. For example, do you notice any patterns in the attributions that first came to mind? Were you more or less likely to exhibit the FAE for certain scenarios? What factors do you think influenced the explanations you came up with?
What you should turn:
Submit a document that includes
- Two attributions for each scenario
- A few paragraphs about the nature of your attributions, addressing the questions above.
To earn full credit, responses must show evidence of effort, consistency with instructions, critical thinking and connection to course material.