Common Sense Psychology

Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Watterson

Attribution Theory: The Psychology of Interpreting Behavior

by Elizabeth Hopper/ThoughtCo.

In psychology, attribution is a judgment we make about the cause of another person’s behavior. Attribution theory explains these attribution processes, which we use to understand why an event or behavior occurred.

  • Attribution theories attempt to explain how human beings evaluate and determine the cause of other people’s behavior.
  • Well-known attribution theories include the correspondent inference theory, Kelley’s covariation model, and Weiner’s three-dimensional model.
  • Attribution theories typically focus on the process of determining whether a behavior is situationally-caused (caused by external factors) or dispositionally-caused (caused by internal characteristics).

Common Sense Psychology

Fritz Heider put forward his theories of attribution in his 1958 book The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. Heider was interested in examining how individuals determine whether another person’s behavior is internally caused or externally caused.

Read More:

Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, two rescue pups, and two guinea pigs.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
DISCLOSURES: All content herein is owned by author exclusively.  Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy


  1. There is a reason a certain group of people focuses so much on children’s healthcare, cartoons, toys, books, games, …
    Another trend you might see soon are extremely despicable persons saying they did all of it because society is evil and now they “saw the light” or whatever.

  2. Imagine your frontal lobes have been wiped out; disrupting cognitive functioning, and then you are thrust into an environment that manipulates every sense of reason that you can surrender. Oh well, good luck. Be a good taxpayer.

Comments are closed.