How information affects attributions for ambiguous behaviours resulting from stroke

by Jake Gallagher

Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2015
Keywords: Attributions; Stroke; Ambiguous behaviours
Record ID: 1297775
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/4383


Research has shown that when people see young survivors of stroke, they often misattribute the person’s symptoms to other factors (Wainwright et al., 2013). Consequently, these stroke survivors may suffer feelings of resentment towards, and from their acquaintances. They may also struggle to obtain or retain a job. This thesis examines whether these misattributions for stroke survivors’ symptoms are affected by the information people have about the stroke survivor and the rapidity of the change in their behaviours. Experiment 1 investigated if the stroke survivor’s age (72, 32 or unstated) and the level of information (no information, implied stroke or explicit stroke) for their behaviours influenced people’s attributions. Experiment 1 showed that people attributed the behavioural changes to factors other than stroke when no additional information is present, and they attributed the behaviours to stroke when stroke was explicitly described. When stroke was implied, participants rated stroke as the best explanation but only when the target person was 72. Experiment 2 manipulated the rapidity of the stroke survivor’s behavioural changes to assess the effect on attributions. Experiment 2 showed that people attributed the behaviours to stroke more if only one week had passed, and if the target person was 72, but not when he was 32. It was concluded that young stroke survivors may need to disclose their stroke in order for others to correctly attribute their behaviours, as this could improve their rehabilitation.