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ERIC Number: EJ911544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
"What Happened?" Teaching Attribution Theory through Ambiguous Prompts
McArthur, John
Communication Teacher, v25 n1 p32-36 Jan 2011
The concept of attribution, "the act of explaining why something happens or why a person acts a particular way," is typically an abstract concept. This 35-50-minute activity invites students to make a series of attributions by asking them "What happened?" in ambiguous scenes presented in class. Then, students retrospectively identify what decisions they made internally that led to their chosen attributions. This activity illustrates the process of attribution and invites students to reflect on the way they make attributions about events and people and to think critically about their own biases and the impacts of context and experience on their attributions. The benefit for students is one of internal value: the understanding that the attributions they make may be more related to their own past experiences than they are to the actual truth. A list of references and suggested readings is included. (Contains 1 figure and 1 table.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A