Dispositional Attribution

In simple words, Attribution refers to explanation of behaviors whether others or our own. It is an important aspect of social psychology. Different psychologists have come up with different theories or models of attribution over the years.

[Related Reading: Attribution Theory]

What remains constant is that all of the theories revolve around two core types of attribution. They are:

We are going to discuss about Dispositional Attribution in this post.


The tendency of assigning the cause or responsibility of a certain behavior or action to the internal characteristic, rather than to outside forces is called Dispositional Attribution. It is also referred as Internal Attributions.

It has been found that we tend to use internal or dispositional attributions to explain others behaviors rather than our own. Internal attributions generally hold responsible for someone’s behavior are motives, beliefs, personality and so on.


We are going to use the same examples we used in the post Situational Attribution so that it’s easier to understand the concept.

Example 1: Suppose a student fails her examination. Her parents assume that she did not pay enough attention in her studies. This is a dispositional attribution.

Example 2: John slips and drops beer on Rachel’s new carpet. Rachel gets furious over the carelessness of John. She ignores the rest of the possibilities like the carpet could be uneven, and instead pours the blame on John. Rachel is making Dispositional Attribution.

In the Example 1, the student’s failure is attributed to her laziness and lack of motivation to study, which are her personal traits. Since the attributions made deal with the learner’s personality traits, the attributions are dispositional.

In the Example 2, John’s clumsiness and inability to be careful is taken into account as the cause of his mistake. Since the attributions deal with John’s personality traits, the attributions are dispositional.


Looking at the examples mentioned above and even taking into account the incidents in real life where dispositional attributions are made, people usually make dispositional attributions for others behavior. And the attributions seem to escalate with the person’s emotions.

Taking into account the Example 2, more angrier Rachel gets, more personal she gets with her attributions for the John’s fall.