Attribution theory and Arab images of the Gulf war

Daniel Heradstveit, G. Matthew Bonham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 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


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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