Age Differences in the Correspondence Bias: An Examination of the Influence of Personal Belief
MetadataShow full item record
Work by Blanchard-Fields has consistently found that older adults are prone to making dispositional inferences in certain contexts (Blanchard-Fields, 1994; 1996; 1999); however mechanisms underlying these tendencies have yet to be explored. The present study assessed the influence that personal belief has on attitude attributions made by both young and older adults. Using the attitude-attribution paradigm, participants made judgments about a targets actual attitude based on an essay that was written by the target. The essay contained a position on a controversial social issue, i.e. prayer in public school, that the target was instructed to advocate. Replicating past research, older adults rated the targets attitude to be more strongly consistent with the content of the essay than young adults did. Personal beliefs did not have a large effect on attitude attributions, however age and belief related differences appeared in both confidence ratings and as a function of attributional complexity. Fluid reasoning was also found to have an impact on attributions.