• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behaviour.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1) Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behaviour. Attribution is defined as how people interpret and explain causal relationships in the social world. Humans have a need to understand why things happen. From observing other people's actions, people make inferences about intention and responsibility. People tend to make an attribution about behaviour depending on whether they are performing it themselves or observing somebody else doing it. This is known as actor-observer effect. Situational and dispositional factors are often used to explain behaviour at the sociocultural level of analysis. Attributing internal characteristics like personality, attitudes and beliefs as the reasons for people's behaviour is called dispositional attribution. The opposite of that is the situational attribution, which happens when we assign the reasons for people's behaviour to external factors, like social pressure and the immediate rewards and punishments in a specific social setting. In general, personality researchers tend to emphasize dispositional explanations whereas social psychologists show a preference for situational explanations. Attribution theory argues that people are more likely to explain another person's actions by pointing to dispositional factors, rather than to the situation. ...read more.

Middle

An impressive number of studies have supported that personality can be captured by someone's position on the scales of five measureable personality factors or traits represented in the table below. The five personality factors of the FFM by McCrae and Costa (1999) and some of the characteristics of low and high scores FFM factor Low scores are: High scores are: Neuroticism Relaxed, even-tempered Emotional, moody, impulsive Extraversion Reserved, serious, passive Outgoing, active, sociable Openness to experience Down-to-earth, practical Imaginative, creative Agreeableness Hostile, selfish, cold Kind, trusting, warm, altruistic Conscientiousness Easy-going, unreliable, sloppy Organized, tidy, striving The FFM offers the basis of valid predictions both in research settings and in everyday life settings. Ozer and Benet-Martinez (2006) have reported that personality, as captured by the FFM, relates to several real-life outcomes, thus being high in ecological validity. Therefore, dispositions in the form of personality factors emerge as significant determinants of behaviour and should be taken into account when trying to explain behaviour. The claim is not that personality is in general the most important determinant of behaviour, much less that we can predict with great accuracy how a particular individual will behave in a specific situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The results can also be viewed in terms of what Mischel identified as a strong situation. According to him strong situations are powerful enough to suppress individual differences. Weak situations allow for more personality influences on behaviour. In Asch's (1951, 1956) study, the participants had to estimate the lengths of lines in comparison to three options in a room with other participants who were actually the confederates of the experimenter and gave wrong answers to see if the real participant would conform. Asch's results showed that many of the participants conformed and explained it with trying "to avoid criticism and social disapproval." These experiments portray that situational factors play at least as important of a role in determining behaviour as dispositional factors do. Bandura's social-cognitive perspective on personality emphasizes the interaction of traits and situations. Bandura (1986, 2006) views the person-environment relationship in terms of reciprocal determinism, which suggests that personality and environment interact in several ways that often determine each other. In this sense, we are both influenced by and design the environments we inhabit. Most psychologists nowadays espouse some form or other of interactionism and accept that dispositions and situations co-determine behavior. Our task is not to ignore one and focus on the other, but to appreciate and understand the interplay between the two. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology essays

  1. The effect and role of organization on memory and recall

    Analysis: The Mann-Whitney U statistical test was used to determine the significance of the effect as it was the most appropriate for tests between unrelated, independent samples with data at an ordinal level of measurement. The data is converted to ranks in order to calculate U.

  2. Psychology Internal Assessment

    Some of the participants would spend a large amount of time deciding which option to choose on the likert scale which could have altered their first impressions of the person. By using the opportunity sample, we could not control subject variables.

  1. Revision notes on the Development of Moral Behaviour

    He used interviews with children, which isn't very accurate as children may be more likely to give an answer they think the researcher wants them to hear. 3. Some of the children Piaget used were his own children so they are even more likely to be biased towards giving a 'desirable' answer.

  2. An experiment to investigate the effect of categorical organisation on the recall of words ...

    It was found in this experiment that most students recalled their words in a list although some did use a similar format to the hierarchy that they were shown. Next Mandler produced results from an experiment which showed that if more (between two and seven)

  1. Examine the role of two cultural dimensions on behaviour

    This shows the dimension?s effect on behaviour, as American short term culture makes them pay more to receive an item quicker, whereas Singaporean long term culture are more patient and able to wait. There were however problems with the research, as it had a small sample size so was hard

  2. To what extent is positive education in classroom settings successful in enhancing students happiness?

    Furthermore the study only showed a correlation between happiness and lifespan, but not the cause and effect. This means that it did not show how character strengths influenced happiness, but it only found a correlation between these to factors. To think that it did, would be to commit the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  1. Evaluate the role that one cultural dimension (e.g. individualism/collectivism, power distance) may have on ...

    Therefore, they are more likely to show FAE. This is supported by the following study. In 2002, Norenzayan et al. tested whether information given to Korean and American participants would influence their attributions. When participants only received information about individuals, both groups made dispositional attributions.

  2. An experiment to investigate whether word connotation truly does have an effect on memory

    With these results in place, it was then known that every word contains its own place in one?s schema and with different word connotations, one?s memory can be easily influenced. With the belief of memories being modified through the layers of schema, Bartlett (1932)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work