Outcome dependency: Attention, attribution, and attraction

  • Berscheid E
  • Graziano W
  • Monson T
 et al. 
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Theoretical and empirical work on the processes by which dispositional characteristics are attributed to others has focused almost exclusively on how such processes proceed once the perceiver has been motivated to initiate them. The problem of identifying the factors which prompt the perceiver to engage in an attributional analysis in the first place has been relatively ignored. It was hypothesized that high outcome dependency upon another, under conditions of high unfamiliarity, is associated with the initiation of an attributional analysis as evidenced by (a) increased attention to the other, (b) better memory of the other's characteristics and behavior, (c) more extreme and confidently given evaluations of the other on a variety of dispositional trait dimensions, and (d) increased attraction to the other. These hypotheses were tested within the context of a study of heterosexual dating relationships in which 27 male and 27 female 18-22 yr old volunteers anticipated varying degrees of dependence upon another for their dating outcomes. Findings support the view that the data processing operations of the social perceiver--from attention to memory to attribution--are part of a unified whole and may be viewed as manifestations of an underlying motivation to predict and control the social environment. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • attention &
  • attraction to &
  • attributions about others, outcome dependency upon another, 18-22 yr olds in dating relationships

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