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Attribution Theory

It is widely accepted that those differing in political ideology (e.g., liberals/left-wing supporters as opposed to conservatives/right-wing supporters) differ in their actions as well as disagree in their attitudes concerning what constitutes “correct” responses to a wide variety of social issues including poverty, abortion, rights for same-sex couples, crime, and welfare (public assistance). In this entry, attribution theory, which addresses perceptions of causality, is used to explain these disparities by identifying the processes that mediate the relations between political ideology and attitudes and behavior. It is reasonable to believe that attribution theory can shed light on these processes because beliefs about causation lie at the very heart of political ideologies.

Attribution theory was introduced into psychology by the Austrian psychologist Fritz Heider in the 1950s ...

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