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Journal article

Attributional complexity: An individual differences measure.

Fletcher G, Danilovics P, Fernandez G, Peterson D, Reeder G ...see all

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 51, issue 4 (1986) pp. 875-884

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Abstract

Describes the development of a scale that measures the complexity of attributional schemata for human behavior—the Attributional Complexity Scale (ACS). In Study 1, the ACS was administered to 289 undergraduates. The results show that the ACS had adequate internal reliability and test–retest reliability, and a factor analysis yielded 1 major factor. Study 2 tested the discriminant and convergent validity of the ACS by administering it to 81 undergraduates. As predicted, attributional complexity was not related to social desirability, academic ability, or internal–external locus of control, but it was positively related to the need for cognition. Study 3 confirmed the prediction that psychology majors (n=59) would have more complex attributional schemata than natural science majors (n=35). Studies 4 and 5, with 174 Ss, provided evidence for the external validity of the scale: Attributionally complex Ss compared with attributionally simple Ss spontaneously produced more causes for personality dispositions and selected more complex causal attributions for simple behavioral events. Implications for various issues in social cognition are discussed. (48 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Garth J. O. Fletcher

  • Paula Danilovics

  • Guadalupe Fernandez

  • Dena Peterson

  • Glenn D. Reeder

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