Attribution theory and Arab images of the Gulf war

Daniel Heradstveit, G. Matthew Bonham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


This article describes the results of an in-depth interview study of Arab elites in the wake of the Gulf war, research that only partially supports a crucial finding of research on actor-observer differences in social attribution. Although the aggregated explanations of these Arab respondents were consistent with the predictions of the theory, the attributions of Iraq's behavior by Egyptian elites, and attributions of the Coalition's behavior by Moroccan and Tunisian elites were not fully consistent with the hypothesis. These results were interpreted to suggest the importance of distinguishing, in applications of attribution theory, between complex political situations and simple social situations, the perspective of actors versus observers, and cultural differences in discursive practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-292
Number of pages22
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes



  • Arab elites
  • Attribution theory
  • Dispositional attributions
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Gulf war
  • Perception
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Situational attributions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Heradstveit, D., & Bonham, G. M. (1996). Attribution theory and Arab images of the Gulf war. Political Psychology, 17(2), 271-292.