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Arguing that it would serve scholars and practitioners better to view impression management (IM) from a coworker's perspective than from that of an actor's outcomes, this study demonstrates that IM by a coworker triggers a self-serving attributional process. The authors reason that denial of another's relative advantage leads the observing coworker to attribute this behavior to the actor's incompetence, consequently leading to counterproductive behavior toward them in efforts to reduce their own relative disadvantage. Data were collected at T1 and T2 from 142 service sector employees. Our results were consistent with our hypotheses. However, the moderated-mediation models for conditional effects of hostile attributional style were not supported. This study offers an integrated view of previously isolated domains of IM and attribution, suggesting future literature considers a similar perspective for more meaningful investigations.
This chapter details and evaluates existing research on the extent to which three related cognitive processes are associated with the successful maintenance of relationships and relationship satisfaction: benevolent attributions, forgiveness, and gratitude. As detailed throughout the chapter, it appears that the extent to which each process is associated with the successful maintenance of relationship satisfaction depends critically on the context in which it operates, including aspects of the people involved in the relationship, aspects of the relationship itself, and aspects of the environment in which the relationship is embedded. Although each process is associated with the successful maintenance of relationship satisfaction in some contexts, each process is also associated with various personal and interpersonal costs to the extent that it operates in other contexts. Accordingly, we argue that maximizing the benefits of any cognitive relationship maintenance strategy requires a nuanced approach to its investigation.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
In their widely cited article, Swain et al. (2008) report data that, purportedly, demonstrates instability of folk epistemic intuitions regarding the famous Truetemp case authored by Keith Lehrer. What they found is a typical example of priming, where presenting one stimulus before presenting another stimulus affects the way the latter is perceived or evaluated. In their experiment, laypersons were less likely to attribute knowledge in the Truetemp case when they first read a scenario describing a clear case of knowledge, and more likely to ascribe knowledge when they first read a vignette describing a clear case of nonknowledge. We tried to replicate Swain et al. findings in three experiments: one devised in Polish, and the other two conducted in English. We found no priming effect for knowledge ratings regarding the Truetemp case – laypersons were similarly likely to attribute knowledge in all three investigated conditions (primed with a clear case of knowledge, primed with a clear case of nonknowledge, and not primed). These three failed replication attempts are not decisive as to whether the priming effect in question occurs, nevertheless, the collected data puts Swain et al. conclusions about instability of epistemic intuitions in jeopardy.
The parent-child relationship undergoes substantial reorganization over the transition to adolescence. Navigating this change is a challenge for parents because teens desire more behavioral autonomy as well as input in decision-making processes. Although it has been demonstrated that changes in parental socialization approaches facilitates adolescent adjustment, very little work has been devoted to understanding the underlying mechanisms supporting parents’ abilities to adjust caregiving during this period. Guided by self-regulation models of parenting, the present study examined how parental physiological and cognitive regulatory capacities were associated with hostile and insensitive parent conflict behavior over time. From a process-oriented perspective, we tested the explanatory role of parents’ dysfunctional child-oriented attributions in this association. A sample of 193 fathers, mothers, and their early adolescent (ages 12–14) participated in laboratory-based research assessments spaced approximately 1 year apart. Parental physiological regulation was measured using square root of the mean of successive differences during a conflict task; cognitive regulation was indicated by set-shifting capacity. Results showed that parental difficulties in vagal regulation during parent-adolescent conflict were associated with increased hostile conflict behavior over time; however, greater set-shifting capacity moderated this association for fathers only. In turn, father's dysfunctional attributions regarding adolescent behavior mediated the moderating effect. The results highlight how models of self-regulation and social cognition may explain the determinants of hostile parenting with differential implications for fathers during adolescence.
We sought to investigate situation-specific inflated sense of responsibility and explanatory style in social anxiety disorder (SAD) according to the cognitive model. Participants aged 17–68 years (mean = 31.9, SD = 11.1) included waiting list patients referred to a primary care mental health service for cognitive behavioural therapy for SAD (n = 18) and non-anxious control participants (n = 65). A battery of psychometric measures, including a bespoke measure of responsibility beliefs, was used. Compared with controls, participants with SAD were more likely to demonstrate an inflated sense of responsibility (p ≤ 0.001), and to adopt a negative explanatory style specific to social interaction (p ≤ 0.01). Inflated sense of responsibility was found to correlate with SAD symptomatology (r = 0.47, p ≤ 0.05), and with increased usage of safety behaviours (r = 0.47, p ≤ 0.05). Caseness (β = 1.45, p ≤ 0.01) and stability of causal attribution (β = 0.25, p ≤ 0.001) were found to predict inflated responsibility in our sample. To our knowledge this study represents the first attempt to investigate inflated responsibility within the context of SAD. Our results support the notion of inflated responsibility as a feature of SAD.
Key learning aims
(1) To understand the cognitive behavioural components of Clark and Wells’ model of SAD, and their bi-directional nature.
(2) To understand what the term ‘inflated sense of responsibility’ refers to, and how it relates to CBT.
(3) To understand what the term ‘explanatory style’ refers to, and how this concept can also relate to CBT.
Background: How we conceptualize mental health conditions is important as it impacts on a wide range of mediators of treatment outcome. We do not know how children intuitively conceptualize obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), nor do we know the relative impact of biomedical or cognitive behavioural conceptual explanations, yet both are being widely used in psychoeducation for children with OCD. Aims: This study identified children's naive concepts of OCD, and the comparative impact of biomedical versus cognitive behavioural psychoeducation on perceived prognosis. Method: A within- and between-subjects experimental design was used. After watching a video of a young person describing their OCD, 202 children completed a questionnaire examining their concepts of the condition. They repeated the questionnaire following a second equivalent video, this time preceded by either biomedical or cognitive behavioural psychoeducation. Results: Participants’ naive concepts of OCD reflected predominant models of OCD in healthcare. Even at the minimal dose of psychoeducation, participants’ conceptualizations of OCD changed. Prior exposure to OCD resulted in a stronger alignment with the biomedical model. Exposure to biomedical psychoeducation resulted in participants predicting a slower recovery with less chance of complete remission. Conclusion: Psychoeducation for childhood OCD is impactful. Despite its wide use by clinicians and mental health services, biomedical psychoeducation appears to have deleterious effects. Children's concepts of OCD merit attention but caution should be applied in how they are targeted.
The present work presents three studies that investigate the relationship between causal attributions of poverty in Africa, attitudes towards African immigrants and perspective-taking. The objective of preliminary study (N = 54) was to collect information to adapt the Perceived Causes of Third World Poverty Scale (Hine & Montiel, 1999), in the Spanish adaptation by Betancor et al. (2002) to Spanish adolescents. The Study 1 (N = 102) explores the factorial structure of the teenager questionnaire adaptation and to test the relationship with Modern Racism Scale (McConahay, 1986). Correlational analysis reflects the existence of a central element in the new forms of racism: Victim blaming through Personal Attributions of Poverty. The objective of Study 2 (N = 62) was to determine whether empathic induction through empathic perspective-taking (Batson et al., 1997) can ameliorate the individual’s attributions of poverty concerning African immigrants among majority group members. However, the opposite effect was found, empathy induction increased Personal Attributions of poverty (η2 = .10). This effect was moderated by Modern Racism, simple slope test indicates t(52) = 2.49, p < .01, higher prejudiced participants increased Personal Attribution of poverty after empathic induction, blaming the victims for their situation.
The American public's beliefs about the causes of social inequality vary greatly, with debates over the causes of racial inequality tending to be the most salient and divisive. Among whites in particular, liberals tend to see inequality as rooted in society's ills, whereas conservatives tend to see inequality as rooted in individuals’ shortcomings. Given this, many infer that white conservatives are more likely than white liberals to adopt the controversial view that racial inequality is “natural,” i.e., due to genetically inherited characteristics. We argue that genetic explanations for racial inequality, in and of themselves, offer little appeal to white conservatives. However, when white citizens are exposed to media messages that emphasize the egalitarian implications of genetic similarity between racial groups, those on the left and right engage in biased assimilation, resulting in a “nature” (conservative) versus “nurture” (liberal) divide. Data from two studies of white Americans—one representative survey and one experiment—support this theoretical framework.
With visible disabilities, observers tend to overgeneralise from the disability. In contrast, with invisible disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and stroke, observers often fail to allow for challenges resulting from the disability. Persons who have suffered a stroke claim that people misunderstand their symptoms and stigmatise them as a result of these symptoms. This misunderstanding, which happens particularly with young survivors of stroke, may reflect people's causal attributions for symptoms that follow a stroke. Using a scenario design, this cross-sectional study examined whether people attribute ambiguous symptoms that may result from stroke to other causes (the stroke survivor's personality and age) and whether these attributions reflect the age of the stroke survivor. Participants (N = 120) read scenarios describing a male who was aged either 22, 72, or whose age was unstated and who showed four symptom changes: fatigue, depression, irritability and reduced friendships. For each symptom change, participants rated three causal attributions: the person's age, his personality and stroke. The age of the person in the scenario affected attributions; when the person in the scenario was 22, participants attributed his symptoms significantly more to his personality than to his age or stroke, whereas when he was 72, participants attributed his symptoms more to his age than to his personality or stroke and when his age was unstated, they attributed his symptoms equally to age, stroke and personality. Because misattributions for stroke symptoms hinder rehabilitation, therapy can target people's misattributions to enhance rehabilitation for survivors of stroke.
The role of affective and cognitive factors in learning have long been recognised as imperative determinants of the learning process. Maladaptive styles with which we perceive and explain accomplishments and failures in achievement outcomes have an important motivational impact upon approach and avoidance behaviours towards academic tasks. Interventions to change these maladaptive styles are well established, although they stand to gain via addition of cognitive behavioural therapy components. A pilot study attribution retraining intervention was implemented with eight secondary school students, and their results on academic performance, self-concept, and attributional styles were compared to a control group. With significant gains in some specific academic domains, the attributional retraining program is being substantiated for effective use within secondary schools. Implications suggest that this could be an effective tool to retrain students’ attributions, with some gains, as the reattribution technique is revisited and reinvigorated.
The possibility of knowledge attributions across contexts (where attributor and subject find themselves in different epistemic contexts) can create serious problems for certain views of knowledge. Amongst such views is subject-sensitive invariantism—the view that knowledge is determined not only by epistemic factors (belief, truth, evidence, etc.), but also by non-epistemic factors (practical interests, etc.). I argue that subject-sensitive invariantism either runs into a contradiction or has to make very implausible assumptions. The problem has been very much neglected but is so serious that one should look for alternative accounts of knowledge.
Background and aims: International research has shown the public hold various misconceptions about traumatic brain injury (TBI). Yet, relatively little has been done towards developing appropriate measures of public knowledge of TBI. The Head Injury Knowledge Scale (HIKS, Ono, Ownsworth, & Walters, 2011) is a newly developed measure of misconceptions and expectations about the effects of TBI. Additional investigation of its psychometric properties appeared warranted. The aims of this further preliminary study were to examine the factor structure of the HIKS and the relationship between psychosocial variables and factor scores.
Method: A convenience sample comprising 167 adults, of whom 65% were females, responded to an online survey including the HIKS. The two-factor HIKS structure was tested using confirmatory factor analyses and the relationships between psychosocial variables and the HIKS factors were investigated.
Results: A good fit was found for the structure of the HIKS. All items loaded adequately onto the HIKS Over-generalisation and Minimisation factors and their internal consistencies were good. Significant differences between gender groups and for level of education were observed on the HIKS Over-generalisation scale, suggesting various groups in the community may have differing levels of knowledge of TBI.
Conclusion: This study confirmed the robustness of the HIKS factor structure. The HIKS is likely to be an important measure of community understanding of TBI in future research.
Previous population-based studies did not support the view that biological and genetic causal models help increase social acceptance of people with mental illness. However, practically all these studies used un-labelled vignettes depicting symptoms of the disorders of interest. Thus, in these studies the public's reactions to pathological behaviour had been assessed rather than reactions to psychiatric disorders that had explicitly been labelled as such. The question arises as to whether results would have been similar if respondents had been confronted with vignettes with explicit mention of the respective diagnosis.
Analyses are based on data of a telephone survey in two German metropolises conducted in 2011. Case-vignettes with typical symptoms suggestive of depression or schizophrenia were presented to the respondents. After presentation of the vignette respondents were informed about the diagnosis.
We found a statistically significant association of the endorsement of brain disease as a cause with greater desire for social distance from persons with schizophrenia. In major depression, this relation was absent. With both disorders, there was no statistically significant association between the endorsement of hereditary factors as a cause and social distance.
Irrespective of whether unlabelled or labelled vignettes are employed, the ascription to biological or genetic causes seems not to be associated with a reduction of the public's desire for social distance from people with schizophrenia or depression. Our results corroborate the notion that promulgating biological and genetic causal models may not help decrease the stigma surrounding these illnesses.
Background: Research suggests that aggressive children are prone to over-attribute hostile intentions to peers. Aims: The current study investigated whether this attributional style can be altered using a Cognitive Bias Modification of Interpretations (CBM-I) procedure. Method: A sample of 10–12-year-olds selected for displaying aggressive behaviours was trained over three sessions to endorse benign rather than hostile attributions in response to ambiguous social scenarios. Results: Compared to a test-retest control group (n = 18), children receiving CBM-I (n = 16) were less likely to endorse hostile attributions and more likely to endorse benign attributions in response to a new set of ambiguous social situations. Furthermore, aggressive behaviour scores reduced more in the trained group than in the untrained controls. Children who received attribution training also reported less perceived anger and showed a trend to report more self-control than those in the control group. Conclusions: Implications of these findings are discussed.
When do citizens take action to benefit the public good, even when individual benefits are scant or non-existent? We address this question with a focus on an area of critical importance when it comes to environmental sustainability—specifically, we examine citizens' actions in the domain of energy conservation. We do so by using a survey experiment to evaluate the impact of exposure to communications posited to shape collective action behavior. We find that communications shape behavior depending on two primary factors not previously studied in concert: to whom responsibility is attributed for collective outcomes; and, what effects, or consequences, are associated with one's actions. We find that communications emphasizing individual responsibility and collective environmental benefits can stimulate collective action.
Occupational functioning is severely impaired in people with psychosis. Social cognition has recently been found to be a stronger predictor of functioning than neurocognition. This study is the first to investigate if externalizing attributional biases that are typically associated with psychosis play a role in the vocational pathways of people with early psychosis.
A cross-sectional design was used. Fifty participants with early psychosis were recruited from a cohort of 144 participants of the Lambeth Early Onset randomized control trial at 18-month follow-up. Information on occupational functioning was obtained using case notes and interview. Severity of symptoms was assessed and participants completed measures on attributional style and executive functioning.
Although executive functioning and positive symptoms were associated with poor occupational functioning, an externalizing attributional style for failures and reduced engagement in occupational activities during the previous 18 months emerged as the only predictors of poor occupational functioning at 18-month follow-up.
An externalizing attributional bias is associated with poor occupational functioning. Further research is needed to investigate the direction of this relationship and whether attributional biases mediate the impact of symptoms and cognitive impairment on functioning.
Background: Research suggests that biological and psychological attributions for depression are related to professional help-seeking, but the association of these attributions with informal support seeking in social relationships is unknown. As social support is linked with recovery from depression and a lower likelihood of experiencing future episodes of depression, it is important to understand factors that influence an individual's decision to seek social support. Aims: The present study examined depressed individuals’ own attributions for their depressive symptoms (i.e. personal attributions), perceptions of a friend's attributions for these symptoms (i.e. perceived attributions), and the depressed individuals’ willingness to seek social support from that friend. Method: Eighty-six individuals experiencing at least mild depressive symptoms completed self-report measures of personal attributions, perceived attributions, and a social support seeking intentions scale. Results: Participants’ own attributions for depressive symptoms were unrelated to their willingness to seek social support. In contrast, perceived biological attributions were related to greater help-seeking intentions, whereas perceived psychological attributions were associated with lower support seeking intentions. Conclusions: These results suggest that decisions to seek social support are more influenced by perceptions of others’ beliefs about depression than one's own beliefs.
The purpose of this study was to examine how older people make sense of their capacity to maintain sports performance. Performance maintenance is predominantly examined from a quantitative perspective, with little attention given to how people themselves account for it. We interviewed 44 competitors (23 females, 21 males) from the 2009 Sydney World Masters Games (aged 56–90 years; mean = 72 years). The major themes were: ‘Use it or lose it’ (performance preservation required specific ‘training’ and the continuation of general physical activity); ‘Adapt’/‘modify’ (participants compensated for their decline in speed, strength and endurance so they could continue competing in sport); ‘It's in my genes’ (participants attributed their ‘family history’ and/or innate ‘determination’ to performance maintenance); and ‘I like to push myself’ (participants valued improved performance, pushing their bodies and winning which motivated them to continually train and compete). The findings are discussed within a framework of three key performance maintenance theories: (a) preserved differentiation, (b) selective maintenance and (c) compensation. Although compensation and continued training are effective ways to counter decline in later life, this study extends past research by showing how older athletes tend to combine and/or generalise stable and unstable attributes of performance preservation. In particular, this research highlights the importance individuals and Western society place on self-responsibility for health, competition and performance maintenance, which act as key motivating factors.
Terror Management Theory posits that when individuals are faced with their own mortality, they use several defense mechanisms to reduce the existential anxiety caused by the thought of their own death. In this paper, we examined one such mechanism: Control attributions. To do so, we ran an experiment (n = 140) in which we manipulated mortality salience and type of failure (relevant vs. irrelevant consequences) with which participants were faced. Participants were then instructed to evaluate the possible causes of their failure. The results indicated that participants assigned to the mortality salience condition, compared to those assigned to the control group, were more prone to making controllable attributions. That is, even in situations in which individuals are motivated to avoid responsibility (i.e., a relevant failure), mortality salience increased perceived controllability. These results suggest that attributions might serve as a control mechanism to compensate for the sheer uncontrollability of death.