Attributional complexity and the illusory correlation: A test of the inverted-U hypothesis

Katrina Aberizk, Leonard Scott Newman, Rikki H. Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Doubly distinctive events or stimuli (those that stand out from the surround for more than one reason) are particularly memorable and can lead to the development of illusory correlations (i.e., the perception of an association between two variables that are objectively uncorrelated). Stroessner and Plaks (2001) hypothesized that social stereotypes based on illusory correlations are most likely to form as a result of moderate levels of information processing. The current study tests that hypothesis by examining the role of attributional complexity (AC), a personality variable corresponding to motivation to think deeply about human behavior. As predicted, illusory correlations were most apparent for participants with moderate AC. A second goal was to test the hypothesis that illusory correlations linking a group to undesirable behavior would be especially likely to emerge when the group consisted of people with mental illness. This hypothesis was not supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-626
Number of pages26
JournalNorth American Journal of Psychology
Volume19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Fingerprint

Automatic Data Processing
Personality
Motivation
level of information
information processing
mental illness
stereotype
stimulus
personality
Group
event

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Attributional complexity and the illusory correlation : A test of the inverted-U hypothesis. / Aberizk, Katrina; Newman, Leonard Scott; Sargent, Rikki H.

In: North American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 3, 01.12.2017, p. 601-626.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{efd7c967a7bc4000b6b37fed73064f80,
title = "Attributional complexity and the illusory correlation: A test of the inverted-U hypothesis",
abstract = "Doubly distinctive events or stimuli (those that stand out from the surround for more than one reason) are particularly memorable and can lead to the development of illusory correlations (i.e., the perception of an association between two variables that are objectively uncorrelated). Stroessner and Plaks (2001) hypothesized that social stereotypes based on illusory correlations are most likely to form as a result of moderate levels of information processing. The current study tests that hypothesis by examining the role of attributional complexity (AC), a personality variable corresponding to motivation to think deeply about human behavior. As predicted, illusory correlations were most apparent for participants with moderate AC. A second goal was to test the hypothesis that illusory correlations linking a group to undesirable behavior would be especially likely to emerge when the group consisted of people with mental illness. This hypothesis was not supported.",
author = "Katrina Aberizk and Newman, {Leonard Scott} and Sargent, {Rikki H.}",
year = "2017",
month = "12",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "19",
pages = "601--626",
journal = "North American Journal of Psychology",
issn = "1527-7143",
publisher = "North American Journal of Psychology",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Attributional complexity and the illusory correlation

T2 - A test of the inverted-U hypothesis

AU - Aberizk, Katrina

AU - Newman, Leonard Scott

AU - Sargent, Rikki H.

PY - 2017/12/1

Y1 - 2017/12/1

N2 - Doubly distinctive events or stimuli (those that stand out from the surround for more than one reason) are particularly memorable and can lead to the development of illusory correlations (i.e., the perception of an association between two variables that are objectively uncorrelated). Stroessner and Plaks (2001) hypothesized that social stereotypes based on illusory correlations are most likely to form as a result of moderate levels of information processing. The current study tests that hypothesis by examining the role of attributional complexity (AC), a personality variable corresponding to motivation to think deeply about human behavior. As predicted, illusory correlations were most apparent for participants with moderate AC. A second goal was to test the hypothesis that illusory correlations linking a group to undesirable behavior would be especially likely to emerge when the group consisted of people with mental illness. This hypothesis was not supported.

AB - Doubly distinctive events or stimuli (those that stand out from the surround for more than one reason) are particularly memorable and can lead to the development of illusory correlations (i.e., the perception of an association between two variables that are objectively uncorrelated). Stroessner and Plaks (2001) hypothesized that social stereotypes based on illusory correlations are most likely to form as a result of moderate levels of information processing. The current study tests that hypothesis by examining the role of attributional complexity (AC), a personality variable corresponding to motivation to think deeply about human behavior. As predicted, illusory correlations were most apparent for participants with moderate AC. A second goal was to test the hypothesis that illusory correlations linking a group to undesirable behavior would be especially likely to emerge when the group consisted of people with mental illness. This hypothesis was not supported.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85034759990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85034759990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85034759990

VL - 19

SP - 601

EP - 626

JO - North American Journal of Psychology

JF - North American Journal of Psychology

SN - 1527-7143

IS - 3

ER -