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Attribution Theory

Y13 A-Level PE: Psychology

M Timms

on 6 December 2017

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Transcript of Attribution Theory

Warm Up (5 minutes)
On your whiteboard and using your extension studies to help; watch the clip of the football manager interview. List all the reasons each manager gave for their teams success and failure.
Friday 3 February
Lesson 22
Attribution Theory

Introduce understanding of how football managers attribute reasons for success and failure and use it to their advantage.
Discuss Weiner's model of attribution and how it affects sporting performance.
Use knowledge of attribution to explain how coaches can change behaviour and influencing performance.
The process of giving reasons for behaviour (in this case performance) is called ATTRIBUTION.

Attribution is the process of giving reasons for behaviour and ascribing causes for events.

Example : the player played badly today because the weather was poor
Four attributions :
task difficulty
Arranged in two dimensions :
with a possible third dimension :
Weiner's Model of Attribution
Locus of Causality
INTERNAL factors
under the control of the performer
ability / effort

EXTERNAL factors
beyond the control of the performer
task difficulty / luck
STABLE factors
fixed factors which don’t change with time
ability / task difficulty

UNSTABLE factors
factors which can vary with time
effort / luck
Relationship to Sports Achievement
High achievers, tend to attribute success to internal factors (such as Andy Murray's incredible state of fitness); and attribute failure to external factors (such as high temperature or strong wind during the match).

Low achievers tend to attribute success to external factors (such as favourable wind); and attribute failure to internal factors (such as lack of fitness or ability)
Attribution Retraining
The process of changing attributions is called attribution retraining.

The point of this is to change a person’s tendency to ascribe reasons for success or failure so that it is more like that of a successful performer rather than an unsuccessful performer.
The Self-Serving Bias
Successful performers tend to take credit for success. They do this by attributing success to their own overwhelmingly outstanding qualities (natural ability, ability to respond to the competitive situation), thereby enhancing their feelings of pride, self-worth, and self-esteem. They also tend to blame external factors for failure.

Failure is automatically attributed to avoid internal controllable and stable factors (even if such factors may be true). This is the self-serving bias, people tend to give attributions to protect their self-esteem rather than look for true attributions which would reflect the reality of the situation.

Unsuccessful performers do not always attribute failure to external factors and therefore do not protect their self-esteem. This tends to reduce motivation.
The Attribution Process
Learned Helplessness (LH)
Repeated failure (or lack of success) can lead to a state known as learned helplessness.

This is explained as a belief acquired over time that the performer has no control over events and that failure is inevitable
Example: In cricket, if a batsman repeatedly gets a duck (score of 0), he may feel that he no longer has the skill to succeed at sport.

It is characterised by a feeling of hopelessness in which a person with the physical potential to achieve highly at sport no longer feels that it is possible for him or her to do so.

This is what is behind the common belief that if you fall off a bike, you must get back on straight away, otherwise you may never do so.
Attribution Retraining
General LH and Specific LH
General (global) learned helplessness occurs when a person attributes failure to internal and stable factors, and this feeling of failure is applied to all sports.

For example, the comment "I am useless at all sports".

Specific learned helplessness occurs when a person attributes difficulties to internal and stable factors, and this feeling is applied to one specific sport.

For example, the comment "I am good at soccer but useless at racquet games".
Link between
Motivation*; Attribution
and Performance*

Following failure, low achievers need to learn to attribute success and failure to the same reasons as high achievers, namely:

Success should be attributable to stable internal factors.
Failure should be attributable to unstable external factors.

This would raise the self-efficacy of the performer for his or her sport and improve overall performance.
Attribution Theory Questions
Attribution Theory Definition...
Attribution Theory Definition
Write an exam style question about Weiner's attribution theory model. (4 marks)
Now write a mark scheme for that same question about Weiner's attribution theory model...
Weiner's Model
If a high performer has a successful performance, what attributions do they give for their success?
If a low achiever has a successful performance, what attributions do they give for their success?
What strategies can a coach implement to prevent this sequence from occurring?
The coach and captain of a team must motivate players to perform in competitive situations
and encourage them to believe in their own ability.

Explain how ‘approach behaviour’ can be developed within the team.
(4 marks)
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