• 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

    The calculation and table showing the conversion into ranks is shown in the Appendix page. U for the test was 9.5 and U' was 39.5. The decision rule for significance states that if the value of U or U', whichever is smaller (which is U = 9.5 here)

  2. Examine the role of two cultural dimensions on behaviour.

    and to be in social harmony by being cooperative with others; showing a collectivist society norm. Whereas in the states, children are raised as individuals, self- reliant, assertive and independent thinkers with an increase in autonomy; showing an individualist society norm.

  1. This experiment investigated the effect of the presence of others on the number of ...

    This allows for better performance at simple tasks and impairs performance at complex or difficult tasks; Zajonc demostrated this effect in human individuals. One study by the researcher showed that the ability of subject to follow a rotating object with stylus improved with an audience.

  2. Revision notes on the Development of Moral Behaviour

    Marbles tend to be played by boys and so this shows a gender bias in Piaget's methodology. Piaget - Who is naughtiest? Aim To understand how children categorise behaviours into right and wrong by presenting them with moral dilemmas and analyzing their answers.

  1. To what extent is psychodynamic effective in its application to everyday life?

    it's obvious that his work is judgemental and very subjective as I mentioned above and many would decipher displaced and condensate the images of water and fire differently (Freud vs.

  2. Psychology Internal Assessment

    This conclusion suggested that once a central trait has been identified, the halo effect is applied so that all the person's traits become either wholly negative or positive. Furthermore, research to support the halo effect has been carried out worldwide to show the cultural universality with the term.

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

    When situational information was also provided, the Koreans tended to include these information in their explanations much more than the Americans did. This indicates that there are universal features in FAE, but collectivist cultures are more likely attribute others? action to situational factors then internal factors then individualist cultures.

  2. Is eyewitness testimony reliable?

    One question asked, ?About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?? For other participants the verb ?hit? was replaced by ?smashed?, ?collided?, ?bumped?, or ?contacted?. Even though all participants viewed the same videotape, their speed estimates differed considerably depending on how the question was asked.

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