King's College Hospital Medical School, University of London.
Explanations, attributions and the social context of unexpected behaviour
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2006
Copyright © 1982 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 17–29, January/March 1982
How to Cite
Lalljee, M., Watson, M. and White, P. (1982), Explanations, attributions and the social context of unexpected behaviour. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 12: 17–29. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2420120102
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2006
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2006
- Manuscript Received: 21 OCT 1981
- Manuscript Revised: 3 JUN 1981
- Social Science Research Council
The study investigated the effect of the expectancies a perceiver holds about the occurrence of a particular behaviour and his or her familiarity with the situation in which the behaviour occurs, for the way in which an event is explained. Subjects were presented with brief descriptions of hypothetical events which varied in terms of the familiarity of the situation. Dependent variables included ratings of causality to personal and situational causes as well as open-ended explanations which were content analysed to distinguish between four different types of person and four different types of situation elements. The results showed that explanations for unexpected behaviour are more complex than for expected behaviour; that if the situation is familiar to the subject, unexpected behaviour is explained by introducing more person elements while if it is unfamiliar, unexpected behaviour is explained by introducing more situation elements; and that the distribution of different types of person and situation elements is affected by familiarity and expectancy.