attribution theory

noun

Definition of attribution theory

psychology
: a theory that attempts to explain the interpretive process by which people make judgments about the causes of their own behavior and the behavior of others
  • After studying how people explain others' behavior, Fritz Heider (1958) proposed an attribution theory. Heider noted that people usually attribute others' behavior either to their internal dispositions or to their external situations.
  • —David G. MyersPsychology2001
  • Indeed, in accordance with tenets of attribution theory, teachers may be most apt to reject students whom they perceive as being able, yet unwilling, to control undesired behavior.
  • —Bryan G. Cook et al.Journal of Special EducationJanuary 2007

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First Known Use of attribution theory

1967

in the meaning defined above

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