Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes

Tobias Brosch, Daniela Schiller, Rachel Mojdehbakhsh, James S. Uleman, Elizabeth A. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When forming impressions and trying to figure out why other people behave the way they do, we should take into account not only dispositional factors (i.e. personality traits) but also situational constraints as potential causes for a behavior. However, in their attributions, people often ignore the importance of situational factors. To investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attributions, we decomposed the attribution process by separately presenting information about behaviors and about the situational circumstances in which they occur. After reading the information, participants judged whether dispositional or situational causes explained the behavior (attribution), and how much they liked the person described in the scenario (affective evaluation). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex showed increased blood oxygenation-level-dependent activation during the encoding of situational information when the resulting attribution was situational, relative to when the attribution was dispositional, potentially reflecting a controlled process that integrates situational information into attributions. Interestingly, attributions were strongly linked to subsequent affective evaluations, with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex emerging as potential substrate of the integration of attributions and affective evaluations. Our findings demonstrate how top-down control processes regulate impression formation when situational information is taken into account to understand others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-646
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Fingerprint

Prefrontal Cortex
Personality
Reading

Keywords

  • Attribution
  • Disposition
  • Evaluation
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Person perception
  • Situation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes. / Brosch, Tobias; Schiller, Daniela; Mojdehbakhsh, Rachel; Uleman, James S.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 8, No. 6, 08.2013, p. 640-646.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brosch, Tobias ; Schiller, Daniela ; Mojdehbakhsh, Rachel ; Uleman, James S. ; Phelps, Elizabeth A. / Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes. In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 6. pp. 640-646.
@article{864f22aeaf554498a4878a3edffefbed,
title = "Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes",
abstract = "When forming impressions and trying to figure out why other people behave the way they do, we should take into account not only dispositional factors (i.e. personality traits) but also situational constraints as potential causes for a behavior. However, in their attributions, people often ignore the importance of situational factors. To investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attributions, we decomposed the attribution process by separately presenting information about behaviors and about the situational circumstances in which they occur. After reading the information, participants judged whether dispositional or situational causes explained the behavior (attribution), and how much they liked the person described in the scenario (affective evaluation). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex showed increased blood oxygenation-level-dependent activation during the encoding of situational information when the resulting attribution was situational, relative to when the attribution was dispositional, potentially reflecting a controlled process that integrates situational information into attributions. Interestingly, attributions were strongly linked to subsequent affective evaluations, with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex emerging as potential substrate of the integration of attributions and affective evaluations. Our findings demonstrate how top-down control processes regulate impression formation when situational information is taken into account to understand others.",
keywords = "Attribution, Disposition, Evaluation, Fundamental attribution error, Person perception, Situation",
author = "Tobias Brosch and Daniela Schiller and Rachel Mojdehbakhsh and Uleman, {James S.} and Phelps, {Elizabeth A.}",
year = "2013",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1093/scan/nst019",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "640--646",
journal = "Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience",
issn = "1749-5024",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes

AU - Brosch, Tobias

AU - Schiller, Daniela

AU - Mojdehbakhsh, Rachel

AU - Uleman, James S.

AU - Phelps, Elizabeth A.

PY - 2013/8

Y1 - 2013/8

N2 - When forming impressions and trying to figure out why other people behave the way they do, we should take into account not only dispositional factors (i.e. personality traits) but also situational constraints as potential causes for a behavior. However, in their attributions, people often ignore the importance of situational factors. To investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attributions, we decomposed the attribution process by separately presenting information about behaviors and about the situational circumstances in which they occur. After reading the information, participants judged whether dispositional or situational causes explained the behavior (attribution), and how much they liked the person described in the scenario (affective evaluation). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex showed increased blood oxygenation-level-dependent activation during the encoding of situational information when the resulting attribution was situational, relative to when the attribution was dispositional, potentially reflecting a controlled process that integrates situational information into attributions. Interestingly, attributions were strongly linked to subsequent affective evaluations, with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex emerging as potential substrate of the integration of attributions and affective evaluations. Our findings demonstrate how top-down control processes regulate impression formation when situational information is taken into account to understand others.

AB - When forming impressions and trying to figure out why other people behave the way they do, we should take into account not only dispositional factors (i.e. personality traits) but also situational constraints as potential causes for a behavior. However, in their attributions, people often ignore the importance of situational factors. To investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attributions, we decomposed the attribution process by separately presenting information about behaviors and about the situational circumstances in which they occur. After reading the information, participants judged whether dispositional or situational causes explained the behavior (attribution), and how much they liked the person described in the scenario (affective evaluation). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex showed increased blood oxygenation-level-dependent activation during the encoding of situational information when the resulting attribution was situational, relative to when the attribution was dispositional, potentially reflecting a controlled process that integrates situational information into attributions. Interestingly, attributions were strongly linked to subsequent affective evaluations, with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex emerging as potential substrate of the integration of attributions and affective evaluations. Our findings demonstrate how top-down control processes regulate impression formation when situational information is taken into account to understand others.

KW - Attribution

KW - Disposition

KW - Evaluation

KW - Fundamental attribution error

KW - Person perception

KW - Situation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84880441584&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84880441584&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/scan/nst019

DO - 10.1093/scan/nst019

M3 - Article

C2 - 23446840

AN - SCOPUS:84880441584

VL - 8

SP - 640

EP - 646

JO - Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

JF - Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

SN - 1749-5024

IS - 6

ER -