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A Developmental Investigation of Fundamental Attribution Error in Two Subcultures

A. Sertan Bozkurt, Orhan Aydın
2004; 19(54):91-108

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The impact of culture on fundamental attribution error-the tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences upon other? behavior- was explored in a developmental context. Four groups of subjects on the bases of their ages and parent? educational levels participated in the study. The age groups were 7, 12, 15 and 19. In each age group half of the subjects? parent were primary school graduate and the other half were university graduates Based on İmamaoğlu (1987; 1998) and Kağıtçıbaşı?s (1996) studies it was assumed that participants with different parental educational levels would represent different cultural dimensions. Subjects were asked the recall one positive behavior performed by a person they know and then to explain why this particular person acted so. Interviews were tape-recorded, content analyzed and the proportions of the subjects? references to internal (dispositional) and external (situational) causes in their explanations were calculated. The results show that the subject whose parents were university graduates gave greater weight to internal factors in their explanation than did the subjects whose parents were primary school graduates. As to the effect of age, it was found that the proportion of internal causal factors used to explain behavior increased with age.



Keywords: Fundamental attribution error, age differences