Actors, observers, and the attribution process. Toward a reconceptualization

Thomas C. Monson, Mark Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Jones and Nisbett hypothesize that actors attribute their actions to situational requirements whereas observers attribute the same actions to personal dispositions. This hypothesis is critically examined and a reconceptualization is proposed. Our conceptual analysis focuses on the attributional consequences of differences between actors and observers in: (a) availability of information about the contemporary and historical determinants of the actor's behavior, and (b) susceptibility to possible motivational distortions and cognitive biases. The relationship between this formulation and Jones and Nisbett's analysis of differences between self-perception and interpersonal perception is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-111
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1977

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research and the preparation of this manuscript were supported in part by a grant in aid of research from the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota, National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH 24998-01, and National Science Foundation Grant SOC 75-13872 to Mark Snyder. The order of authorship is alphabetical, as the two authors have contributed equally.


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