Affordable Access

Explaining Real-Life Events: How Culture and Domain Shape Attributions

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
  • Logic


Several lines of experimental research have shown that attributional styles are affected by the attributor's culture, inferential goals, and level of cognitive processing. Can these findings be replicated in natural settings? This study compared the attributions made in two domains (sports articles and editorials) of newspapers published in two culturally distinct countries (Hong Kong and the United States). Consistent with the cross-cultural research, attributions were less dispositional in the East than in the West. This cultural difference was weaker in editorials than in sports articles. The authors argue that the higher level of complexity, accountability, and uncertainty in editorials increased the cognitive effort expended to make attributions, which, in turn, attenuated their extremity. Implications for the mixed model of social inference are discussed.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.