Violate my beliefs? Then you're to blame! Belief content as an explanation for causal attribution biases

Fredda Blanchard-Fields, Christopher Hertzog, Michelle Horhota
<span title="">2012</span> <i title="American Psychological Association (APA)"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Psychology and Aging</a> </i> &nbsp;
We examined the extent to which the content of beliefs about appropriate behavior in social situations influences blame attributions for negative outcomes in relationship situations. Young, middle-aged and older adults indicated their level of agreement to a set of traditional and nontraditional beliefs. Five months later, we assessed the degree to which these same individuals blamed traditional and nontraditional characters who violated their beliefs in twelve social conflict situations. Older
more &raquo; ... adults held more traditional beliefs regarding appropriate relationship behaviors (e.g., the acceptability of pre-marital sex). Individual differences in the content of one's beliefs were needed to understand age-related patterns in blame attributions; for example, adherence to traditional beliefs about appropriate relationship behaviors led to higher responsibility and blame attributions towards characters behaving in ways that were inconsistent with these beliefs. Structural regression models showed that beliefs fully mediated the effects of working memory and need for closure on causal attributions, and partially mediated the effects of age and religiosity on attributions. Personal identification with the characters had additional, independent effects on attributions. Findings are discussed from the theoretical perspective of a belief-based explanation of social judgment biases.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1037/a0024423</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:21728442</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC3248998</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:tyi5nfsdmbbxritbl524p76wxm</a> </span>
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