Kelly's Covariation Model
While studying Psychology it is important to decide whether a person's behavior is caused by Internal or External factors.

Overview of Internal vs. External Attributions

Internal Attribution: The inference that a person is behaving a certain way because of something about that person.
External Attribution: the inference that a person is behaving a certain way because of something about the situation they are in.

But how do we know if a behavior is Externally or Internally cuased?

Kelly's Covariation Model: A theory that states that to form an accurate attribution about a behavior requires additional information. By systematically noting pattern of behavior when possible causal factors are present or absent we can make an accurate attribution. This will make much more sense when I define these possible patterns.

Components of Kelly's Covariation Model

Consensus information:  Information about how other people would behave if they were in the same situation. High in consensus means that others would behave the same way. Low in consensus means that other people would behave differently.  

Distinctiveness information:  Information about how the individual behaves the same way in different situations. Low in distinctiveness means the individual behaves the same way to different stimuli. High in distinctiveness means that the individual behaves a certain way towards a certain stimuli.

Consistency information:  Information about how the individual behaves towards a certain stimuli across time and circumstances.  High in consistency means that the individual behaves the same way almost every time they are presented with a certain stimulus. 

Possible outcomes of Covariation Model.
Internal Attribution is likely if: Consensus is Low, Distinctiveness is Low, and Consistency is High
External Attribution is likely if: Consensus is High, Distinctiveness is High, and Consistency is High

12 responses to "Discerning between Internal vs. External Attribution (Social Psychology)"

  1. I had to read it 2x to understand it, good post!

  2. Like the guy said above it's hard to understand but it gets easier. Thanks for sharing this stuff buddy.

  3. I think too many things are caused by a persons situation sometimes. But it is an interesting thing to think about, how who you are would change in a situation.

  4. What anonymous said. I get it but after reading a couple times o_o

  5. confusing but very useful

  6. knowin me, knowin you! follow!

  7. I know some people who have some pretty high consistency...

  8. I don't know what you guys are talking about. I didn't find this confusing at all.

  9. Maybe because I have a Psychology degree, this wasn't confusing to me at all. Some jargon, but I feel like it is well-explained. A classic model, btw, with very important concepts in social psych. Great post.

  10. Interesting stuff.

  11. What the first guy said, haha. It's a good read though.

  12. This makes me wish I was still taking this class. Only class I ever did perfect in.

Post a Comment