Attribution TheoryMotivational theory looking at how the average person constructs the meaning of an event based on his /her motives to find a cause and his/her knowledge of the environment.

- Attribution theory (Weiner, 1980, 1992) is probably the most influential contemporary theory with implications for academic motivation. It incorporates behavior modification in the sense that it emphasizes the idea that learners are strongly motivated by the pleasant outcome of being able to feel good about themselves. It incorporates cognitive theory and self-efficacy theory in the sense that it emphasizes that learners' current self-perceptions will strongly influence the ways in which they will interpret the success or failure of their current efforts and hence their future tendency to perform these same behaviors.

- Explanations people tend to make to explain success or failure:
  1. 1.Internal or External
  2. - We may succeed or fail because of factors that we believe have their origin within us or because of factors that originate in our environment
  3. 2.Stable or Unstable
  4. - If the we believe cause is stable, then the outcome is likely to be the same if we perform the same behavior on another occasion. If it is unstable, the outcome is likely to be different on another occasion
  5. 3.Controllable or uncontrollable
  6. - A controllable factor is one which we believe we ourselves can alter if we wish to do so. An uncontrollable factor is one that we do not believe we can easily alter.

- People will interpret their environment in ways which maintain a positive self-image. For example, if someone does bad on a test they are likely to want to attribute the success to their own efforts and abilities in this subject. However, if they fail, they will want to attribute their failure on other factors which they cannot control, such as bad teaching or bad luck

- Four factors related to attribution theory:
●internal and stable factor
●learner does not exercise much control
2.Task difficulty
●external and stable factor
●greatly beyond learner's control
●internal and unstable factor
●learner has a great deal of control
●external and unstable factor
●learner has very little control

- Self-Handicapping Attributions
Paradoxically, students use the principles of attribution theory itself as a means of self-handicapping. For example, students who think they will fail a difficult test may be inclined to refrain from studying for that test. Their thinking goes like this:

●If I study hard but fail, I will look and feel incompetent. That is, if I give my best effort and fail, everyone will know that I don't have the ability to do well on this test.
●If I study hard and pass, the hard work will reduce the glory of my success. People will think I had to work hard in order to succeed. If I were really smart, I wouldn't have to work so hard.
●If I don't study but fail, I can explain this failure by noting that I haven't even tried. If I haven't tried, then I can have the internal assurance that I could have succeeded if I had really tried. I may fail the test, but at least no one will have evidence that I'm stupid.
●If I don't study but still manage to succeed, then people will know that I'm a genius. The only explanation for my success would have to be that I have really high ability