Distinctiveness, In Attribution


Distinctiveness, in attribution, refers to the extent to which a specific action engaged in by an individual is unusual or uncommon for that particular individual. The judgment of whether an action is high in distinctiveness, that is, uncommon for the individual who engaged in it, or low in distinctiveness, common for that individual, depends on knowledge of that individual's past behavior. Such information is referred to as distinctiveness information.


The concept of distinctiveness developed out of attribution theory, which was originated by Fritz Heider. Heider began by noting that to understand people, one needs to understand how they view their own social world—their naive psychology. Heider proposed that people understand their social worlds largely in terms of cause and effect. When observing a given action, the ...

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