Attribution, affect, and college exam performance

Robert M. Arkin, Geoffrey M. Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Results of a questionnaire study with 207 college students show that Ss attributed their own performance and the performance of the average student to ability, test difficulty, preparation, and luck. Consistent with the self-serving bias hypothesis, successful Ss perceived internal factors as more important causes and unsuccessful Ss perceived external factors as more important causes of their own performance than the performance of the average student. Furthermore, successful Ss saw internal and stable factors as more important causes of others' outcomes (as well as their own) than did unsuccessful Ss. Ss' anxiety about their performance and their ratings of the course and instructor were systematically, albeit weakly, linked with specific causal attributions. The implications of these causal inferences and affective responses in the educational context are discussed. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1979


  • anxiety level &
  • course &
  • instructor ratings &
  • stability of attribution for own vs average student's performance, successful vs unsuccessful college students


Dive into the research topics of 'Attribution, affect, and college exam performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this