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Copy of Weiner's Attribution Theory
Transcript of Copy of Weiner's Attribution Theory
by: Meredith Freece Bernard Weiner's Attribution Theory
attempts to explain the world and to determine the cause of an event or behavior (Learning Theories, 2008). Attribution theory assumes that people try to determine why people do what they do, that is, interpret causes to an event or behavior. A three-stage process underlies an attribution:
1. behavior must be observed/perceived
2. behavior must be determined to be intentional
3. behavior attributed to internal or external causes Weiner's attribution theory is mainly about achievement. According to him, the most important factors affecting attributions are:
ability, effort, task difficulty and luck
(Learning Theories, 2008) Attributions are classified along three causal dimensions:
1. locus of control (internal vs. external)
2. stability (do causes change over time?)
3. controllability (causes one can control such as skills vs. uncontrollable luck)
(retrieved from:http://educaton.calumet.purdue.edu/vockell/edPsybook/Edpsy5/edPsy5_attribution.htm) The basic principle of attribution theory as it applies to motivation is that a person's own perceptions or attributions for success or failure determine the amount of effort the person will expend on that activity in the future (Tollefson, p.71-72, 2000). Locus of Control
Internal locus of control (within person)
External locus of control (in situation)
Regarded as most fundamental distinction
among causal explanations. Stability of Cause
Stable cause (relatively permanent and unchanging)
Unstable cause (subject to change)
Tasks of skill versus tasks of luck
When someone succeeds in tasks of skill, attribute outcome to stable attributes (ability), so expect same outcome in future.
When someone succeeds in game of luck, attribute outcome to unstable attributes (luck), so do not expect same outcome in future. Controllability of Cause
Controllable (subject to volitional control)
Uncontrollable (not subject to volitional control) Concluding Thoughts...
An attributional approach to classroom behavior can address expectancy of success and affects including pride, guilt, shame, and self-esteem. It also allows for predictions about reactions to success and failure (Weiner, 2000). References
Attribution Theory (n.d.). Retrieved from
Learning Theories Knowledgebase. (2008). Attribution
theory. Retrieved from http://www.learning
Stipek, D. (4th Eds.), (2002). Motivation to learn:
Integrating theory and practice. Boston:
A llyn & Bacon.
Tollefson, N. (2000). Classroom applications of cognitive
theories of motivation. Educational Psychology, 12(1).
Weiner, B. (2010). The development of an attribution-
based theory motivation: A history of ideas. Educational
Psychologist, 45(1), 28-36.
Weiner, B. (2000). Intrapersonal and interpersonal
theories of motivation from an attributional
perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 12(1). (Weiner, 2010)