ERIC Number: ED258119
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Question Wording Style on Attributions for Success and Failure.
Whitley, Bernard E., Jr.
Researchers in attribution theory have used two styles in wording attributional questions. The informational style asks subjects the extent to which they possess ability, effort and luck relative to a task, and task difficulty. The causal style asks subjects the extent to which various factors influenced or caused the outcome. A study was undertaken to assess the impact of question wording style on the attributions made for an achievement task. College students (N=39) played a video game which required them to use logic to deduce a randomly selected number. After playing, subjects made informational and causal attributions to ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck for their performance on the game, and rated their success at the game. The effect of question wording style on attributions was assessed by comparing the correlations of the two types of attributions with the success ratings. The results indicated that informational attributions to ability had a higher correlation with success than did causal attributions. Correlations of informational attributions with success were also significantly different from those of causal attributions for task difficulty and luck. Results from regressing the causal attributions on linear and quadratic components of the informational attributions indicated significant curvilinear relationships for all four attributional categories. These results suggest that causal and informational attributions are not equivalent. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (57th, Chicago, IL, May 2-4, 1985).