Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor/Mentor

Eidelman, Scott

Committee Member/Second Reader

Chapman, Kate

Committee Member/Third Reader

Hare, Laurence

Abstract

Since the idea of attributions was famously discussed by Fritz Heider (1958), a wide array of empirical research has focused on the phenomenon. Included within the sphere of attributional theories are internal attributions, which have been of particular interest to the psychological community for decades. Although there is no comprehensive theory for why people make these attributions, literature points to establishing control as a possible motivator. In addition, research suggests that people may make more extreme internal attributions about minorities, particularly when they are not aware they are relying on stereotypes. Participants (N = 377) observed a modified version of the quizmaster paradigm (Ross, Amabile & Steinmetz, 1977), which relies on the Fundamental Attribution Error. They first completed a control manipulation that either deprived their sense of person control or left it unaffected. Then, they watched a video depicting the quizmaster paradigm with either a black contestant or a white contestant. After the video, they rated quizmasters, contestants and themselves based on intelligence. Although the quizmaster paradigm proved to be robust, neither Race nor Control affected the strength of the internal attributions participants made. The lack of significant findings suggest that further research needs to be conducted to ascertain the causality of internal attributions.

Keywords

Internal Attributions, Fundamental Attribution Error, Control, Racial Biases

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