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THE ATTRIBUTOR'S UNPROMPTED USE OF STRENGTH AND DIRECTION OF CONSENSUS INFORMATION

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Studied the attributor's unprompted use of consensus information to judge behavior. By examining the context, attributors were able to estimate the degree of consensus to expect for the actor's behavior. Participants read vignettes that described real-life situations and imagined themselves or an acquaintance performing a socially desirable or undesirable action in the situation. The vignettes varied according to expected direction of consensus (a majority would be expected to act in desirable or undesirable manner) and expected strength of consensus (strong, moderate, or weak majority). Higher situational attributions were found when the actor's behavior was congruent with, rather than in contrast to, the expected consensus, particularly when the behavior was undesirable. Furthermore, higher situational attributions were evoked by expected majority performance of undesirable acts than desirable acts. Attributors did not distinguish among strengths of consensus; nor was there differential attention to consensus for self-versus other-attributions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1979-01-01

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