Adjusting for the correspondence bias: Effects of causal uncertainty, cognitive busyness, and causal strength of situational information

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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology


Correspondence bias, Dispositional inferences, Inferential correction


This research examined the conditions under which people who have more chronic doubt about their ability to make sense of social behavior (i.e., are causally uncertain; Weary and Edwards, 1994, Weary and Edwards, 1996) are more likely to adjust their dispositional inferences for a target’s behaviors. Using a cognitive busyness manipulation within the attitude attribution paradigm, we found in Study 1 that higher causal uncertainty predicted increased correction of dispositional inferences, but only when participants had sufficient attentional resources to devote to the task. In Study 2, we found that higher-causal uncertainty predicted greater inferential correction, but only when the additional information provided a more compelling alternative explanation for the observed behavior. Results of this research are discussed in terms of their relevance to the Causal Uncertainty (Weary & Edwards, 1994) and dispositional inference models.


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