An Introduction to Theories, Research and Applications

By Friedrich Försterling

© 2001 – Psychology Press

256 pages

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Paperback: 9780863777929
pub: 2001-07-19
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About the Book

Attribution concerns the scientific study of naive theories and common-sense explanations. This text provides a thorough and up-to-date introduction to the field, combining comprehensive coverage of the fundamental theoretical ideas and most significant research with an overview of more recent developments.

The author begins with a broad overview of the central questions and basic assumptions of attribution research. This is followed by discussion of the ways in which causal explanations determine reactions to success or failure and how our causal explanations of other people's actions shape our behaviour toward them. The manner in which attributions may shape communication, and how people often quite indirectly communicate their beliefs about causality, is also explained. Finally, the issue of changing causal connections in training and therapy is addressed.

With end of chapter summaries, further reading and exercises to illustrate key attribution phenomena, Attribution will be essential reading for students of social psychology and associated areas such as personality, educational, organisational and clinical psychology.


'… a very well-written book which will provide a very good introduction to attribution theory.' - Denis Hilton, Université de Toulouse

'This book provides a map of the terrain that will be invaluable to students and scholars beginning journeys through the sprawling attribution literature as well as to long dwellers there who have become disoriented.' - Michael Morris, Stanford University

Table of Contents

Series Preface. Introduction. Part I: Central Questions and Basic Assumptions. The Topics of Attribution Research. When do We Make Attributions? Part II: Antecedents of Perceived Causality. Heider's Analysis of Naive Psychology. Antecedents of Phenomenal Causality. Antecedents of Attributions to Intention. Covariation-based Causal Inferences. Configuration Concepts. Shortcomings and Errors in the Attribution Process. Part III: Consequences of Causal Attributions. Intrapersonal Consequences. Interpersonal Consequences. Part IV: The Communication of Attributions. Language and Causal Explanations. Indirect Communication of Attributions. Part V: Applications of Attribution Principles. Attributional Retraining. Conclusions. References. Author Index. Subject Index.

About the Author

Friedrich Forsterling is Professor of Psychologyat the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. His previous publications include Attribution Theory in Clinical Psychology (John Wiley & sons).

About the Series

Social Psychology: A Modular Course

Social Psychology: A Modular Course, edited by Miles Hewstone, aims to provide undergraduates with stimulating, readable, affordable, and brief texts by leading experts committed to presenting a fair and accurate view of the work in each field, sharing their enthusiasm with students, and presenting their work in an approachable way.

Together with three other modular series, these texts will cover all the major topics studied at undergraduate level in psychology. The companion series are: Clinical Psychology, edited by Chris R. Brewin; Developmental Psychology, edited by Peter Bryant; and Cognitive Psychology, edited by Gerry Altmann and Susan E. Gathercole.

The series will appeal to those who want to go deeper into the subject than the traditional textbook will allow, and base their examination answers, research, projects, assignments, or practical decisions on a clearer and more rounded appreciation of the research evidence.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology