& Meredith, 2010 ). To better teach fitness education and to motivate students for fitness tests and related activities, physical educators need to understand students’ explanations for their performance and behavioral choices. The attribution model proposed by Weiner (e.g., 1985 ) theorizes that a person
Summer Davis, Xihe Zhu and Justin Haegele
Sada Reed and Guy Harrison
-hitting reporter, making a story seem more dramatic and the reporter more “in the know” ( Culbertson, 1978 ). In his analysis of Time and Newsweek magazines, Culbertson found that veiled attributions conformed to stylistic patterns that implied connections, or “inside dope” (p. 465). Previous studies have
Psychological research concerning sport attributions has devoted much attention to motivational explanations of egocentric bias phenomena. Some theoretical explanations suggest bias is intentional in order to fulfill certain self-oriented needs. However, there is also evidence that cognitive processes such as memory can contribute to unintended egocentric biases. Two studies were conducted to investigate biases (a) in the available information used to make attributions, and (b) in the attributions of responsibility for actions or events. The subject samples examined were 12 men's doubles tennis teams and 32 coach-athlete pairs. Subjects responded to questions requiring recall of either important events and turning points during tennis matches (Study 1) or examples of joint interaction inputs (Study 2). Estimates of perceived responsibility for both dyad members were gathered from each subject. The data provided evidence for egocentric biases in available information and in responsibility attributions. A subject's own inputs to team efforts or to a two-person interaction were more easily and frequently remembered. Subjects consistently remembered more of their personal contributions than those of others, and accepted more responsibility for joint efforts than granted them by others regardless of event outcomes. Failure to include others' inputs in the recall of joint endeavors is explained by processes affecting memory. Implications for future research are discussed as well as the problems these unintended biases create for participant interaction.
Diane L. Gill, M. Karen Ruder and John B. Gross
A total of 352 open-ended attributions were obtained in two field studies with volleyball teams and in two lab experiments, all involving team competition. All attributions were classified along the three causal dimensions of locus of causality, stability, and controllability. Attributions were also classified as referring to the self, to teammates, to the team as a whole, or to other factors and sorted into specific categories. A loglinear analysis revealed that attributions were predominantly internal, unstable, and controllable. A significant win/loss effect reflected the tendency for members of winning teams to use controllable, and particularly unstable, controllable, attributions more than members of losing teams. Overwhelmingly, attributions referred to the team as a whole rather than to individuals or other factors, and teamwork was an especially popular causal explanation. The findings suggest that research on attributions in team competition should focus on causal dimensions rather than the four traditional attributions of effort, ability, luck, and task difficulty, and that further attention should be given to team-referent causal explanations.
Gail M. Dummer, Martha E. Ewing, Rochelle V. Habeck and Sara R. Overton
The attributions of 147 athletes with cerebral palsy who participated in the 1985 National Cerebral Palsy/Les Autres Games were investigated following competition relative to their reactions to objectively and subjectively defined success or failure. Attributions were the dependent variable in a 2 × 2 (More-Disabled/Less-Disabled × Win/Loss) MANOVA. Attributions were also analyzed in a 2 × 4 (More-Disabled/Less-Disabled × Satisfied/Dissatisfied, Winner/Loser) MANOVA designed to determine the influence of perceived success or failure upon causal explanations of performance. There were no significant differences in the use of attributions by gender; however, there were differences in the use of attributions across disability classifications. Disabled winners used both internal and external explanations to a greater degree than losers, which was inconsistent with previous literature. Previous results linking persistence in sport to the use of internal and stable attributions were supported. Subjective outcome, defined in terms of satisfaction with performance, was a more powerful explanation of achievement behavior for the disabled athletes in this study than objective outcome. Satisfaction was associated with demonstration of positive qualities such as using the right strategy and ability, with realistic assessment of ability, and with enjoying competition.
Iris Orbach, Robert N. Singer and Milledge Murphey
There is a shortage of research in which the effect of attribution training interventions on sport performance has been investigated. Therefore, the primary goal of this study was to determine the influence of an attribution training program on individuals who attribute their sport performance to dysfunctional attributions. Sixty college recreational basketball players were oriented to perceive their performance in a basketball skill task as due to (a) controllable, unstable factors, (b) uncontrollable, stable factors, or (c) no specific factors. Dependent variables included attributions and performance time. Using MANOVA and repeated measures factorial ANOVAs, results revealed that it is possible to modify attributions and performance in regard to a basketball performance task. The data are supportive of the potential influence of attribution training in a sport setting and the use of a controllable, unstable dimensional orientation as a means to improve performance.
Kevin S. Spink and Glyn C. Roberts
Previous research in the attributional analysis of individuals involved in athletic settings has typically used objective outcome as the primary determinant of causal attributions. Recent theorizing has suggested that objective outcome may not be the most adequate way of defining success and failure. Rather, success and failure may be more aptly described in terms of an individual's subjective perception of the implications of outcome for desirable personal qualities, especially ability. A field study was conducted to assess the effects of perceived outcome on the causal attributions of racquetball players. Prior to participating in a competitive two-person racquetball game, individuals indicated their expectancy of success against their opponent. Following the game, individuals rated their performance satisfaction, own competency, their opponent's competency, as well as rating the extent to which the outcome was due to internal or external factors. The results showed that the clearly perceived outcomes were attributed internally, while the ambiguous outcomes were attributed externally. The finding suggests that objective outcome may not be the best determinant of success and failure causal attributions.
Mary Jo Kane and Nicole LaVoi
perceived as the cause” ( Acosta & Carpenter, 1988 , p. 1). The issue of “perceived factors,” or reasons for the decline, can also be described and analyzed using the term “attribution.” Acosta and Carpenter were not able to gather empirical data for the actual reasons related to the employment practices
Glyn C. Roberts and Debbie Pascuzzi
Previous sport attribution studies have generally asked subjects to make attributions for outcomes to the four elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty. These studies have assumed that these elements are the most important causes of outcomes. The present study tested this assumption. An open-ended questionnaire was given to 349 male and female subjects to determine the causal elements used in sport situations. Results showed that the four traditional elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty were used 45% of the time. However, the theory advocated by Weiner (1974) is based on the dimensions of locus of control and stability, and not on the elements per se. When the responses of subjects were content analyzed for dimensional properties, it was concluded that 100% of the responses could be placed within the four cells of the Weiner model. These results support the applicability of the Weiner achievement behavior model to sport environments, but only when careful analysis of causal attributions is made to determine their dimensional relevance. The evidence suggests that situationally relevant elements be included in addition to the traditional elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty.
Iris Orbach, Robert Singer and Sarah Price
This study aimed to investigate the influence of an attribution training program for learners who attribute their sport performance to dysfunctional attributions. Participants were 35 college beginner tennis players who were oriented to attribute their performance in a tennis skill task to controllable, unstable factors; uncontrollable, stable factors; or no specific factors. Participants received fictitious failure feedback over 10 trial blocks administered during four sessions. Dependent variables included attributions, expectations, emotions, persistence, and performance. MANOVA analyses revealed that it is possible to modify attributions in regard to a tennis performance task. More importantly, the new attributions were consistent up to 3 weeks postintervention and were generalized to a different tennis task. In addition, participants who changed their attributions to more functional ones had higher expectations for future success and experienced positive emotions.