Effects of controllable versus uncontrollable factors on responsibility attributions: A single-subject approach

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Abstract

Used a “lens-model” methodology to assess the influence of different informational “cues” on responsibility attributions for an automobile accident; 40 undergraduates served as Ss in 4 experiments. Multiple regression analyses indicated that although there were large individual differences, in Exps I and II the major determinants of responsibility judgments were car speed and the condition of the car's brakes. In Exp III, speeding and brakes information was deleted. The major determinant of attributions was the driver's past record, although the importance of severity of consequences was somewhat greater than in the 1st 2 experiments. In Exp IV, driving record was deleted. The majority of Ss indicated that not enough information was available. Overall, severity was a relatively unimportant cue. Instead, Ss tended to rely on factors over which the driver had control. The lens-model approach seems suitable for studying attributional judgments, particularly since it provides a detailed description of individual judgment strategies. (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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