Temporal Perspective and Attributions: The Role of Causal Stability and Certainty

Lawrence J. Sanna, Janet K. Swim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Examinations of the effect of temporal perspective on attributions have resulted in a set of apparently contradictory findings. Our results suggest that rather than a dispositional shift versus a situational shift, these findings can be reconciled in terms of a “stability shift” in attributions over time. In Study 1, participants were given scenarios and were asked to imagine themselves, or another person, succeeding or failing in the past, present, or future. In Study 2, participants provided attributions for their own real-life exam performances, with a design that instituted a time delay. The dependent measures were eight achievement attributions corresponding to the cells of Weiner’s model. Discussion centers around the stability and certainty of causes, and directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-387
Number of pages17
Journalbasic and applied social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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