Goal-based and situation-based expectation of behaviour

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Abstract

In a study of the effects of situation characteristics and person goal (motive) characteristics on perceived probability of behavior, subjects rated the probabilities of sixteen behaviors for each of sixteen situations (representing all combinations of four situation categories and four goal categories). Ratings were completed for both Self and Other. Both situation and goal characteristics were found to influence expected behavior with the effect of the latter being greater. An exception to this was ratings associated with facial behaviors and affect, which were more influenced by situation characteristics. Generally other ratings were more influenced by situation characteristics than were Self ratings, a reversal of the effect known as the ‘actorobserver bias’. The study emphasizes the utility of the goal concept as a personality construct and as a construct useful in the study of social cognition.

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