Perspective and group-membership influences causal attribution of interpersonal verbs  

Kabai P., Pólya T., László J.
First author's affiliation: University of Pécs Psychology PhD School, Pécs, Hungary

By the concreteness-abstractness of description of an event, there are other mechanisms, which have impact on causal attribution. Actor-observer bias suggests that actors tend to attribute their actions to situational factors, whereas observers rather use dispositional attribution. Perspective can be manipulated implicitly, by group membership. In our experiment we have varied valence, abstractness of interpersonal verbs, group membership and actor-observer perspective. We performed the latter variation by using mental verbs, e.g., "Petru was aggressive with Mihály" versus "Petru thought he was aggressive with Mihály." Participants were asked to estimate the dispositional and situational causal attribution of the interpersonal events. Linguistic manipulation of the perspective has effects which are in accord with theory of Bertram Malle on actor-observer bias. Results point to the potential linguistic means of alleviating stereotypes.