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The tendency to attribute behavior to dispositional causes, even when other explanations are appropriate, is referred to as the correspondence bias (Gilbert & Malone, 1995). This bias is applied broadly and has robust empirical support (e.g., Bauman & Skitka, 2010; Stanley & Blanchard-Fields, 2011; Krull et al., 1999). The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between correspondence bias and gender. Additionally, we explored whether biased attributions are made regarding future predictions. Participants read one of four fictional essays written by either a male or female student that argues about the status of gender inequality in America, as required for an assignment. This breakdown yielded four conditions: male/inequality is a problem, female/inequality is a problem, male/inequality is not a problem, female/inequality is not a problem. After reading the essay, participants completed a survey that gauged their inferences about the beliefs and personality traits of the writer. Subjects were asked to make these inferences for the writer's current state, in addition to predicting how well these inferences would apply to the writer one year later and five years later. We collected data from 298 participants. This was analyzed using a 2 (stimulus gender) X 2 (essay point-of-view) MANOVA. Given prior research, we hypothesized that more dispositional attributions would be made for the female writer than the male writer. Additionally, we hypothesized that confidence in these attributions would decrease across time but ultimately remain as predictors of future beliefs and traits. Results showed an interaction between stimulus gender and essay point-of-view. There was also a main effect of essay point-of-view. These findings have implications for the domains of social and cognitive psychology and extend attribution theory research, in addition to being a powerful indicator of the current social climate regarding beliefs and attitudes toward gender.

Content Notes

Poster, Final Report Form

First Advisor

Elizabeth Russell



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