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Responsibility Attribution

A responsibility attribution relates to beliefs about the cause of an event, or outcome, or state. The event in question may be positive (success) or negative, but responsibility is used more in association with aversive outcomes. Hence, a responsibility attribution is linked with terms such as fault and blame, with the individual held accountable for an unwanted experience. In addition, a responsibility attribution may apply to the self or to others. This entry focuses on social perception and judgments about others, rather than on self-perception.

Responsibility attributions are of central importance in studies of thinking, feeling, and behavior (motivation). Social psychologists therefore have devoted much attention to this topic, and that interest remains central.

How Does One Know if Another is Responsible?

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