Attribution of success and failure revisited, or: The motivational bias is alive and well in attribution theory

  • Zuckerman M
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Abstract

Do causal attributions serve the need to protect and / or enhance sell-esteem? In a recent review, Miller and Ross (1975) proposed that there is evidence for sell-serving effect in the attribution of success but not in the attribution of failure; and that this effect reflects biases in information-processing rather than self -esteem maintenance. The present review indicated that self-serving effects for both success and failure are obtained in most but not all experimental paradigms. Processes which may suppress or even reverse the self-serving effect were discussed. Most important, the examination of research in which self- serving effects are obtained suggested that these attributions are better understood in motivational than in information-processing terms.

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Authors

  • Miron Zuckerman

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