Sample Exam Questions for "Attributions"

Last updated:
03 Nov 2005


  1. What is attribution?
  2. What are the consequences of attributions?

Multiple choice

A fundamental problem with attribution theory is that it posits an individual who is often ____________ in his/her seeking for causes in social behaviour. Such theorising underestimates the importance of ___________ meanings.

a. active, given
b. active, shared
c. passive, given
d. passive, shared
e. mistaken, shared

"Everybody cheats on their income tax. So what does it matter if I cheat a little bit?" This is an illustration of a general principle called the ___________. In other words, one’s own behaviour is seen as more typical behaviour of others’ behaviour than it is.

a. actor-observer effect
b. fundamental attribution error
c. observer-actor effect
d. false consensus effect
e. self-serving bias

Alex, who is 10 years old, sees Craig fall off his bike. Attribution theory would predict that Craig is more likely to be helped if Alex thought to himself:

a. "I am a helpful person"
b. "Craig’s bike is old"
c. "Craig’s bike is new"
d. "Craig is not very good at riding"
e. none of the above

We often believe our own behaviours, especially undesirable ones, are more common than they really are. This is called:

a. the false consensus effect
b. the false uniqueness effect
c. the fundamental attribution error
d. the correspondence bias
e. the self-serving bias

Joanne, who has never competed in athletics, is encouraged to enter the school team and wins her first four races. If she thinks her success is a fluke, her attribution is __________; but if she decides that racing is an easy sport, her attribution is __________.

a. external-unstable; internal-unstable
b. internal-unstable; external-stable
c. external-stable; internal-unstable
d. external-unstable; external-stable
e. internal-stable; external- stable

The ultimate attribution error occurs when ______ and ______ behaviours are explained dispositionally, and ______ and ______ behaviours are explained situationally.

a. positive outgroup; negative ingroup; negative outgroup; positive ingroup
b. negative ingroup; negative outgroup; positive ingroup; positive outgroup
c. positive ingroup; negative outgroup; negative ingroup; positive outgroup
d. positive ingroup; negative ingroup; positive outgroup; negative outgroup
e. positive outgroup; negative outgroup; positive ingroup; negative ingroup

The fundamental attribution error is also known as:

a. cognitive heuristic bias
b. correspondence bias
c. overattribution effect
d. b and c
e. a, b, and c

College roommates rated themselves and each other in terms of consistency in display of traits such as happiness, impulsiveness, etc. Roommates were considered to be more consistent than self (Krueger, 1998).  This is an example of:

a. the fundamental attribution error
b. the actor-observer effect
c. the contact hypothesis
d. a replication of Gottman's relationship studies
e. the benefits of communal living 

According to Jones and Davis' (1965) Correspondent Inference Theory, internal attribution is likely when we believe that the behavior ____________.  (Choose the INCORRECT answer):

a. is freely chosen
b. is intended
c. has noncommon effects
d. is socially desirable

According to Kelly's Covariation Theory, dispositional attribution is likely when we believe that Consensus is _____, Distinctiveness is _______, and Consistency is _______.

a. high; high; high
b. low; low; low
c. low; low; high
d. high; high; low
e. high; low; low

"I failed the exam because I am stupid" is an example of a _________________ attribution (according to Weiner's Attribution Model).

a. global, stable, internal
b. specific, stable, internal
c. global, unstable, external
d. specific, unstable, external
e. global, stable, external