ERIC Number: ED115653
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: N/A
Individual Differences and Attributional Analysis of Achievement-Related Behavior.
Performance is affected by cognitive learning skills, but also by the reasons people perceive as causes of their successes and failures. People with high achievement needs perceive their successes as caused by their own ability and effort, and their failures as caused by lack of effort. People with low achievement needs blame their failures on lack of ability and do not take credit for their ability when they experience success. A change in attributions changes the way people perform. In one research study, high achievers given placebos they thought would interfere with their abilities tried less hard on a task, while people with low achievement needs and little self-confidence, since they had an excuse for experiencing difficulty, did better than usual. In another study, children subjected to repeated failures kept trying if they believed effort would make a difference. Tendencies to form causal attributions are learned, perhaps differently by different racial and social groups. However, interventions can change people's assessment of their chances for success. For example, tests on children who were reinforced for exhibiting effort attributions showed that their work improved and they became more persistent. Teachers should thus take students' individual attribution styles into consideration as a characteristic which affects achievement behavior, and, at the same time, attempt to change students' attributions in the direction of emphasizing ability and effort. (CD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Pittsburgh Univ., PA. Learning Research and Development Center.