A schematic model of dispositional attribution in interpersonal perception

Glenn D. Reeder, Marilynn B. Brewer
1979 Psychological review  
Previous research on dispositional attribution has failed to take into account how the inference process may be affected by variations in schematic representation of dispositional attributes. A schema is denned here as a set of implicational links between dispositional levels and categories of relevant behaviors. Three general schemata are discussed-the partially restrictive schema, the hierarchically restrictive schema, and the fully restrictive schema-each having different implications for
more » ... rules of inference employed in making attributions based on observed behaviors. Relevant research on utilization of information regarding consensus, situational context, and actor's past behavior is reviewed in this framework. Despite the extensive research undertaken within the framework of attribution theory since the appearance of the seminal papers by Jones and Davis (1965) and Kelley (1967) , little attention has been paid to how the inference processes involved in dispositional attribution may be affected by characteristics of the particular dimension of judgment being utilized. Instead, very general rules of inference are proposed, as if the same processes were presumed to underlie the attribution of all dispositional qualities, from tennis skill to racial prejudice. As a result, the effects on attribution of informational cues such as situational context, consensus data, and past behavior have been studied without regard to potential interactions between these factors and the nature of the attribute being inferred. The purpose of the present article is to propose alternative ways in which the nature of dispositional attributes can be represented schematically and to demonstrate that differences among these alternative schematic representations lead to differences in the rules of inference invoked and the utilization of
doi:10.1037/0033-295x.86.1.61 fatcat:f5ithtawxnfnlmuhqunta4ibre