Not As Big As It Looks: Attribution Errors in the Perceptual Domain

People routinely assume correspondence between acts and dispositions while underweighting the influence of the situation, a systematic error prior research has labeled “correspondence bias.” Three laboratory studies investigate the robustness and generality of this tendency while exploring its relevance in the domain of physical perceptions. Results suggest that it may be even more fundamental than prior theories have supposed. Most prior work on the correspondence bias uses paradigms in which the outcome is more salient and easier to assess than the situation. Our studies address this imbalance and test the theory in new domains where disposition is represented as the height of a person or the weight of a product. Situational manipulations vary the presence of a height aide or the weight of product packaging. Participants fail to sufficiently discount for situational influences, selecting those people and products enhanced by their situation. The results provide new insights into the ultimate causes of the correspondence bias.


Zachariah Sharek, Sam Swift, Francesca Gino, and Don Moore (2010) ,"Not As Big As It Looks: Attribution Errors in the Perceptual Domain", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 652-653 .


Zachariah Sharek, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Sam Swift, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Francesca Gino, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Don Moore, Carnegie Mellon University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37 | 2010

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


G3. Warm or Cold? The Effect of Color Temperature of Logo on Evaluation of For-Profits and Nonprofits

Eunmi Jeon, Sungkyunkwan University
Myungwoo Nam, Sungkyunkwan University

Read More


When the Face of Need Backfires: The Impact of Facial Emotional Expression on the Effectiveness of Cause-Related Advertisements

In-Hye Kang, University of Maryland, USA
Marijke Leliveld, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Rosellina Ferraro, University of Maryland, USA

Read More


The Trusted Influencer: How They Do It and How Brands Can Benefit

Gillian Brooks, Oxford University, UK
Mikolaj Piskorski, IMD

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.