Date Thesis Awarded

5-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Joanna Schug

Committee Member

Michael Cronin

Committee Member

Meghan Sinton

Committee Member

Tomoko Kato

Abstract

Previous research has shown cultural differences between Japan and the United States stem from differences in holistic vs. analytic cognition. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the socio-ecological factor relational mobility on social cognition in the form of causal attribution. Study 1 confirms previous research on differences across Western and East Asian causal attribution styles by finding higher perceptions of relational mobility and greater tendency toward dispositional attribution in the American participants, and lower relational mobility perception and more consistent situational attribution in Japanese participants. In Study 2, we prime American participants with high vs. low relational mobility and test for changes in causal attribution. Consistent with the predictions, high relational mobility was related to increased dispositional attribution and low relational mobility was related to increased situational attribution. Collectively, these studies show relational mobility is a socio-ecological factor of culture that correlates with causal attribution and can be manipulated to change perceptions of a social situation.

Keywords: Relational Mobility, Causal Attribution

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