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MOTIVATIONAL INFLUENCE OF BEHAVIORAL DESIRABILITY ON ACTORS' AND OBSERVERS' ATTRIBUTIONS

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Abstract:

Jones and Nisbett's (1971) proposition that actors favor environmental attribution and observers personal attribution was investigated. Subjects attributed causality from two perspectives (observer versus role-playing actor) for verbally-described behaviors which varied in desirability (low versus moderate versus high). The results suggested that motivational considerations mediated actor-observer attributional differences. While observers attributed more personal cause than did actors at all levels of desirability, this actor-observer difference was attenuated as behavioral desirability increased. Actor-observer differences were not evidenced on environmental attribution, suggesting that perspective differences represent a differential salience of personal causes for actors and observers.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1976.4.1.17

Publication date: January 1, 1976

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