Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Second Advisor

D.T. Pedrini

Third Advisor

William L. Blizek


The purpose of this study was to determine the existence of target attribution, and its interaction with other variables. Subjects were obtained from grades one, seven, and college freshmen; thirty of each age group were used. The subjects consisted of an equal number of males and females, who scored as internal or external on a locus of control measure. Each individual was asked to assume the role of actor in each of four videotapes, and to rate the degree of responsibility they felt for the action on each scene. The subjects were also asked to rate the actor and the other person in each scene on a kindness/consideration scale, the strength of their identification with the actor in each scene, and to answer several open-ended questions about each scene. In general, subjects tended to assume a high level of responsibility for events, including the actions of other people. The tendency for self-attribution was stronger among first graders and in actor-initiated scenes. Target attribution was greater in females when the situation outcomes were negative, whereas males assumed greater responsibility for outcomes. Locus of control was not a factor in any of the analyses. All subjects indicated a strong or very strong identification with the actors in the tapes. Overall, kindness/consideration ratings were higher for the actor, who represented the subject than for the other person in the scene. Males rated themselves more highly than the other, but females rated the other higher on kindness/consideration.

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