covariation principle

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In attribution theory, the tendency to ascribe behaviour to a cause that is present only when the behaviour occurs, or that is observed to vary over time with the behaviour. A typical example is the tendency to attribute competitive behaviour to external causes in people who are observed to behave competitively in interactions with competitive partners but to attribute the competitiveness to internal dispositional causes in people who appear to behave competitively independently of their partners' actions. See also causal schema, Kelley's cube. [From Latin com together + variare to vary + -ation indicating a process or condition]

Subjects: Psychology — Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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