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Attribution

Attributions involve making causal explanations for events or outcomes, particularly the behaviors that led to those events or outcomes. These explanations may be made by the individuals who experienced the events directly (self-attributions), or explanations may be given for why events or outcomes happened to other individuals (social attributions).

Individuals tend to take personal credit for successful outcomes by making attributions that reflect characteristics that are internal and stable to them (e.g., positive personality characteristics), whereas they tend to deflect blame for failure outcomes by making attributions that reflect external elements of the situation or context (e.g., the task was too hard). These self-serving attributions are important because they have been linked to psychological and physical health indexes such as self-esteem and immune functioning. Moreover, these ...

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