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"Critically evaluate Kelley's ANOVA model of attribution".

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Introduction

"Critically evaluate Kelley's ANOVA model of attribution". Attribution theories involve the use of social and psychological research to explain how we interpret the events and behaviours we see around us. When observing behaviour, our own or other peoples, we attempt to provide explanations for its occurrence, these explanations are usually situational or dispositional. Thus, attributions are personal expressions about causal factors of events or behaviours. Theories have offered important insights into the ways in which people explain their own actions and the actions of others. Many theoretical models have been suggested; they usually involve a search for the cause of the behaviour, and an attempt to determine whether this is internal or external, followed by a decision as to whether the behaviour is logical or rational. Some of the most prominent theories are initially Heider's (1948) Model, which highlighted the fact that all behaviours have both internal and external causes. There is also Jones and Davis' (1965) Correspondent Inference Theory that is concerned with how we move from observing behaviour, to understanding the intention of the actor, to concluding the disposition which caused the intention. There is also Kelley's (1967) ANOVA model, which is concerned with what information we use to arrive at a causal attribution. ...read more.

Middle

Who then pose alternative explanations of how everyday attributions are made, Kelley's ANOVA model fails to provide adequate explanations in all of these areas. Initially Kelley failed to consider what is called the fundamental attribution error (Ross et al, 1977). This context refers to the tendency to underestimate situational factors and overestimate dispositional factors in making attributions. Ross et al (1977) carried out a study including quiz masters and contestants, they found that even though the quiz masters were in a position where they could ask any questions they wanted, people thought automatically that the quiz masters were more knowledgeable. This fundamental attribution error may also serve to explain why we tend to blame road accidents on the driver not the conditions. However even the concept of fundamental attribution errors is not completely ubiquitous as it has been proven by Miller (1984) that cultural differences are evident, with individualistic societies, such as Americans, paying more attention to dispositional factors and collectivist cultures, such as Indians emphasising situational factors. Linguistic differences in the West also play a role in this; the English language contains more terms that describe a person's dispositions than we do to describe different situations. ...read more.

Conclusion

Kelley's model is ultimately flawed, although it is possibly a good account of how people should use information, it is not through enough to explain what happens in everyday life. However it deserves credit for being one of the most through and useful models devised at the time. It has also stimulated further research into the topic and models devised later by other psychologists have helped to make the theory more workable. For example, Forsterling's (1992) formulation of Kelley's ANOVA model was based on the statistical anova parameter of effect size, and thus accounted for discounting augmentation as well as covariation. The results from our laboratory class and other pieces of research that have been in support of the ANOVA model cannot be ignored. However, with so much evidence to suggest that the MODEL is not an effective working model, one has to question whether supportive research evidence may have been flawed. As even with the introduction of Kelley's causal schemas the theory is still unworkable. Overall the theory seems to complex and rigid to be part of everyday attributions, however in an ideal world it may be helpful to use Kelley's ANOVA model to make unbiased, correct and thought through assumptions. ...read more.

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