Como citar este capítulo: Omar, A., Uribe, H. & Assmar, E. (2002). Causal attribution of academic success-failure. In P. Boski.; F.J., Van de Vijver; A.M. Chodynicka (Org.). New Directions in CrossCultural Psychology. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Instytutu Psychologii PAN, ISBN 8385459-58-8, pp. 501-516 (728).



This research was supported by grant 04-01709 from National Agency for Scientific and Technical Promotion (ANPCyT), and by grant 523985/96-7 from Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development. The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this chapter.

Contact: Alicia Omar CONICET (National Council of Scientific Research and Technology), Argentina. E-mail: agraomar@yahoo.com

sex.) and illustrative (dimensional meaning of attributional causes and motivational orientation) variables. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed in terms of socio-educational values in the Argentinean and Brazilian cultures.2 ABSTRACT The research project of Causal Attribution of Academic Success-Failure in Latin America is oriented towards the study of interpersonal explanation about academic performance and the collective opinion regarding school performance in endo and exogroups. Groups of Argentinean and Brazilian secondary students classified as “successful” and “not successful” by their mathematics and social science grades teachers. etc. schools. The theoretical background is based upon Weiner and Mc Clelland’s formulations. Multidimensional analyses of numerical and symbolic data revealed several different relationships between active (nationality. . were analysed.

(b) controllability. These causes can be classified into three dimensions. On the other hand. referring to whether the cause is constant or variable over time. similar in some features. for a review). ecological and biological variables and of current changes in these variables” (Berry. in an achievement situation. which have received broad support from a number of studies (see Weiner. According to Weiner’s (1980) theory. and luck. Cross-cultural studies. The development of such approach makes it necessary that traditional social psychology topics. (c) stability. systematic cross-cultural research on social motivation and causal attribution has been carried out and its results have contributed to the possibilities of scientific explanation of the variability of social behaviors in different cultures. . Segall. The most widely cited causes of success and failure are ability.2).3 Hardly any research has been carried out that aimed at identifying characteristic attributional and motivational patterns concerning academic success/failure among Southern LatinAmerican countries with historical and cultural roots. reflecting whether the cause is something about the person who has succeeded or failed versus something external to the person. Therefore. be reanalysed. Poortinga. & Dasen. 1992. They use it as a way to identify the dimensions of specific behaviors in each culture and those that can be generalised to other cultures as well. even when employing different methods and strategies for investigation. but diverging in several other ones. a variety of causal antecedents such as one’s past history of success or failure will give rise to specific causal ascriptions. In this sense. The knowledge of these psychosocial factors acquires relevance at the moment of implementing related development policies among nations. referring to whether or not the cause is under the control of the person or other people. they try to explain the variability based on theories about cultural differences. such as the relation between social motivation. p. have in common the fact that they are interested in the existing variability of behavior in different societies or cultural groups. task difficulty. cross-cultural psychology is “the study of similarities and differences in individual psychological functioning in various cultural and ethnic groups. It is in this sense that the cross-cultural approach is employed as a suitable means to detect both shared and culturespecific aspects. causal attribution and behaviour. of the relationships between psychological variables and sociocultural. The dimensions were as follows: (a) locus of causality. effort. 1986.

They can. The priority behind such motive is the desire to have acceptance and safety rather than the intrinsic desire to establish meaningful interpersonal relationships. Edwards. McClelland (1985) concentrated on the study of three positive motives that are learned during the socialization process: power need. McClelland postulated the existence of two forms of this motive: the socialized one and the non-socialized one. or “recurrent concerns about goal states” (McClelland. Finally. called non-socialized. describe their values. who energise. as values are conscious. 1999. The socialized form is oriented towards the needs and interests of the social group. values or needs (Elliot et al. affiliation need and achievement need. 1985). orient. cognitive.4 Recent studies have underscored the importance of socio-cultural factors and individual motivational orientations in mediating causal attributions. 1985). persistence in reaching them. they can be assessed through direct self-report questionnaires such as the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS. wants. The affiliation need is connected with the search for pleasant interpersonal relationships. Motives are defined as nonconscious needs. the achievement need implies the establishment of realistic goals. drives. Nevertheless. The power need refers to the efforts of a person to control and manipulate other people. and select behaviour. In the other form. Upon investigating it. prestige and power for himself. as well as the assumption of personal responsibility for the success or . researchers have increasingly argued that cognition should not be studied separately from motivation. Since values are defined as conscious entities. however. 1999). and evaluative “espousals of goals” (Veroff & Smith. 2000) and. that the “cold” cognitive view and the “hot” motivational view be incorporated into a “warm look” (Sorrentino & Higgins. There is evidence that specific cultural values may affect one’s perceptions of causes and the dimensional meaning associated with them (Omar et al. According to this conception people cannot accurately report the strengths of their motives. the subject would merely aim at domination. This “warm” view is adopted in the present study.. 1986). Rizza. and also with the wish to be accepted and to receive rewards. rather than in favour of his group. 1957). there is also evidence that differences in attributional patterns may be related to the differences in individual motives.

their structure and dimensional meaning. Argentina. specially in face of the imperative need to elevate the quality of basic education as an instrument for social and economic development. there are still few and insufficient intra-cultural and cross-cultural studies that deal with this subject in countries in Latin America. In both countries. where the school evasion and failure remain to create problems. . Social motivation has become one of the psychological processes most directly related to the study of academic performance. and having the cross-cultural perspective. The mean ages of these two groups were 16. artistic.5 failure of one’s own performance. Taking into consideration these critical aspects. since it constitutes a factor for orientation of behaviours in search of standards of excellence in individual performances. academic. and 10% were black.30 years respectively. Brazilian students were 492 (214 boys and 278 girls). the goal of this work is to examine causal attributions for achievement. Each student was selected by his or her own Math and Social Science teachers according to his or her school achievement. METHOD Sample and procedures: The sample consisted of 1033 adolescents. Nevertheless. domestic life. It is believed that understanding the motivational profile of students can contribute towards explaining academic success and failure. Such a motive can be qualified as pro-active. while 100% of Argentinean students were Caucasian. Argentinean students were 541 (234 boys and 307 girls) attending public (341) and private (200) schools in Rosario. professional. Brazil. and nonreactive. and to exploring the prevalent motive-values orientation among students of each national group and their relationships with the causal explanations about their academic performance.40 and 16. economic. as perceived by Argentinean and Brazilian high and low achievers in secondary school. Approximately 90% of Brazilian students were Caucasian. etc. attending public (236) and private (256) schools in Rio de Janeiro. from high school classes in Argentinean and Brazilian schools. at any field of social. the schools were selected from various socio-economic backgrounds in order to obtain a representative cross-section of adolescents attending regular schools.

they were asked to rate the importance of these specific causes in relation to their academic performance (effort. financed by the State and chosen by lower and lower-middle-class people. Firstly. A deviation of 0. Ten of the most frequent causes were selected. and to evaluate these causes along three-dimensional scales of locus. preferred by higher or higher-middle-class people. . Then. or that are out of your control (uncontrollable)?" Mood Very Controllable controllable 1 2 Can't decide 3 Uncontrollable 4 Very uncontrollable 5 Students rated the meaning of all ten causes along the same dimension first before proceeding to the next dimensions. family's help. Do you think these causes are something that you can control (controllable). Public schools are free-paid. The aim of this technique is to explore the connotative-affective meaning of a number of words (called inductive words) for a given individual. On the other hand. stability and controllability. Example of the Semantic Differential used: “The following are some causes that may possibly affect your academic performance. if the rating of effort was greater than 3. mood. private schools are paid.7 in the controllable dimension. home condition.7 unit in our 5-point scale is equivalent to 1 unit in their 7-point scale) was used to decide whether a certain specific cause could be characterized by one of the end in a causal dimension (e. and teachers' bias). In the present study the inductive words were the ten specific causes. intelligence. with a good teaching quality due the smaller number of pupils per classes and theirs well-prepared teachers. To determine the absolute dimensional meaning of the specific causes.g. ability in study. in both countries there are similar differences between public and private ones. Chandler & Spies’ (1984) method was adopted.7 unit from the midpoint of the scale (0. it would be labelled as uncontrollable). teachers' help. luck. Semantic Differential technique was used to measure the dimensional meaning of causes. A poor teaching quality and frequent periods of teachers’ strikes characterize this type of schools.6 As regard the type of schools. students were asked to indicate their perceived performance in an examination taken the previous week. exam difficulty.

effort (. The first one. the great part of the information contained into a data matrix. 1992.502).6 % of the variance. contained intelligence (with reliability coefficients (alpha) = .325).392).7 Finally. by means of one or more graphic representations. which explained 52% of the total variance. which explained 37. Which the purpose of seeing how students perceive the meaning of the causes along the theoretical dimensions. The test was introduced as a way of "assessing people's likes and dislikes". The second. while the other involves projecting each variable’s categories on them. effort (. Intelligence (.456). In relation to the calculus of MCA. three components emerged although a scree–test suggested a two-component solution. Escofier & Pages.421). in order to obtain graphic representations (Benzecri. home conditions (. This kind of factorial analysis permits to know the associations among subjects. type of schools (public-private).627). To elucidate the relationship among nationality (Argentinean-Brazilian).578).548). and evaluate their motivational orientation.366). RESULTS In order to examine the importance assigned to the specific causes. affiliation need and achievement need. One of these consists of drawing the main factors (or axis). and luck (. on the second factor. variables and categories of variables.653). sex (boysgirls). academic performance (good-bad).555).348) falling on the factor 1. The purpose of MCA is to show.481). ability to study (. 1988). to describe and to represent graphically the co-occurrence of variables’ categories. it is possible to distinguish two well-differentiated parts. teacher help (. home conditions (.378).409). two principal components analysis were performed followed by rotation using the varimax method for eigenvalues greater than unity. Our item selection was orientated to measure the three main positive motives proposed by McClelland: power need. mood (.389). Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) was performed. With respect to Argentinean group. and exam difficulty (. and teacher bias (. family help (. (explaining 19. teacher bias (.675). teacher help (. and ability to study (. In the Brazilian group also emerged two factors. motivational . students were asked to fill in a short version of the EPPS comprising of a subset of 60 out of 250 forced-choice items.8 of the variance) contained luck (. The MCA was developed to analyse.708).438). family help (. exam difficulty (.

8 orientation and attributional dimensional meaning (locus of causality.74 -0.37 0.6 -24.20 -0. using SPAD-Integré 4.71 -0.91 1.25 -0. a MCA was performed.60 -0.12 0. and test values of the modalities of active variables that defined the two main factorial axes.10 -0.4 7. 1999).28 0. Table 2 presents co-ordinates and correlations between illustrative continuous variables with actives variables.71 -0. In data matrix. type of school and performance) were defined as active nominal ones.68 0. Figure 1 shows the plane of correspondences resulting from both tables.6 -7. TABLE 1: Frequencies.02 Axis 2 -0. CONTINUOUS VARIABLES n-ACHIEVEMENT n-AFFILIATION n-POWER COORDINATE Axis 1 0. PERFORMANCE BAD GOOD 3.88 -0.10 1. nationality. n-power and n-affiliation) as illustrative continuous variables and the meaning of the causes along the theoretical dimensions.73 1.4 -25.5 -22. axes co-ordinates.12 0.32 0.23 -0. and test values of the modalities of the active nominal variables ACTIVE VARIABLES FREQUENCY DISTANCE* COORDINATE Axis 1 Axis 2 0.86 TABLE 2 : Correlations between illustrative continuous variables (motivational orientation) and axes (1-2).88 1.27 0. SEX BOYS GIRLS (*) Distance to centre of gravity 541 492 484 549 436 597 478 555 0.04 Axis 2 -0.13 0.71 -0.14 0.4 -22.99 . TYPE OF SCHOOL PUBLIC PRIVATE 4.12 TEST VALUE Axis 1 Axis 2 7.97 CORRELATION Axis 1 0.0 program (Morineau.2 4.2 1.6 9.8 -9.8 22. controllability and stability) of the specific causes.82 -0. COUNTRY ARGENTINA BRAZIL 2. axis co-ordinates.86 0.81 0. the socio-demographic variables (sex.6 22.5 25.3 -7.88 -0.4 -4. distances to gravity centre.74 -0. as illustrative nominal variables. motivational orientation (nachievement.3 24. distances to gravity centre.16 0.10 -0. Total sample (1033 ss). Table 1 shows the frequencies.

assimilating the profile of public schools students with the Brazilian point of view and that of the private schools students with the Argentinean one. thus determining two poles which.9 FIGURE 1: Factorial plane defined by active (demographic) and illustrative continuous (motivational orientation) variables. respectively. in this particular case. Girls and high academic performance students are presenting a higher need for achievement. Figure 1 presents the optimal solution for active and illustrative continuous variables. this axis could be considered as the axis of “national quality of teaching”. we shall call “successful girls” (right) and “unsuccessful boys” (left). On the second axis of the plane (vertical) nationality and type of school modalities appear. On the first axis of the plane (horizontal) sex and academic performance modalities appear. Therefore. while Brazilian and public schools students are presenting a higher need for power compared with Argentinean and private schools students. and Argentinean and private schools students in the lower part. With Brazilian and public schools students concentrated in the upper part. Semantic dimensional meaning to specific causes is presented in separate tables (and in separate figures). boys and low academic performance students are demonstrating higher tendency towards affiliations. The correspondence analysis also reveals the relationship between motivational orientations and each pole of factorial plane. Table 3 (and Figure 2) shows how subjects evaluated causes .

43 0.87 0. HOME CONDITIONS EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 10.1 -0.1 0. TABLE 3: Frequencies.31 0.08 0.9 -5.40 0.06 -0.0 -7.20 0.4 -1.0 4.17 TEST VALUE Axis 1 Axis 2 -2.55 -0.3 -1.14 0.0 -3.18 -0.1 1.1 0.72 -0.5 3. and test values of the semantic evaluation of specific causes along the locus of causality (internal-external) dimension.39 0.06 0. EFFORT EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 2 LUCK EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 3.4 0.8 -5. Table 4 (and Figure 3) shows their evaluations along controllability dimension and.9 -1.01 -0.64 5.9 -2.29 0.30 4.6 -3.8 7. Table 5 (and Figure 4) along stability dimension.9 -0.52 0.8 -3. MOOD EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 9.66 -0.26 0.19 -0.4 -3.03 0.71 -0.06 -0.4 0.00 -0.0 -5.20 0.22 -0.7 9. INTELLIGENCE EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 7.22 0.09 -0.24 7.19 -0.2 10.8 -4.1 -1.04 0. (*) Frequency (**) Distance to centre of gravity .5 11.2 -0.04 0.0 -2.21 0.6 3.04 -0.08 -0.15 0.01 -0.18 -0.6 -1.6 0.24 23.39 4.4 0.07 -0. ABILITY TO STUDY EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 4.9 5. EXAM DIFFICULTY EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 6.16 0.18 -0.49 5.22 7.23 Axis 2 0.03 -0.35 -0.02 0.7 3.1 -2.03 0.27 -0.0 -2.1 2.6 The extreme modalities (very internal and very external) were assimilating to internal and external modalities respectively because of their scanty frequencies.86 8.11 -0.6 -0.26 10.89 0. axes co-ordinates.59 0.87 14.91 0.4 -2. TEACHER HELP EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 8.45 4.34 0.14 16.74 -0.14 0.46 0.25 0.5 -1.07 -0. Each Figure (2.0 0.00 -0.5 2.8 2.9 6.6 -3.11 43.10 along locus of causality dimension.26 0. FAMILY HELP EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 5.66 3. distances to gravity centre.6 4.00 -0.06 0. 3 and 4) presents the “projections” of the most significant meaning of the specific causes (test-values greater than 3.01 -0.35 11.9 -2.5 7.34 0.13 10.0) on the two axis mentioned above.2 -4.57 -0.01 0.4 -2.0 -0.30 -0.1 2.9 -3.35 0.03 -0.8 -2. NOMINAL VARIABLES Fr * DIST** COORDINATE Axis 1 1.7 -0.23 8.25 10.1 7.03 -0.4 3.7 0.61 -0.09 -0.01 0.71 3. TEACHER BIAS EXTERNAL INTERNAL NON EXT-INTERNAL 76 934 23 628 155 250 87 903 43 742 188 103 604 217 212 65 908 60 829 92 112 125 817 91 711 197 125 763 84 186 12.

2 -3.67 0.16 0. evaluated along the locus of causality dimension. In contrast. On the other hand.20 9.6 -3.20 -0.8 -3. home conditions.27 Axis 2 -0. axes co-ordinates.06 56.7 2.13 5. EFFORT CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 974 18 41 102 168 763 951 29 0.35 0.5 4.5 -3.02 -0.9 -3.4 -1.02 -0. distances to gravity centre.9 4.2 2.15 0.09 34. ABILITY TO STUDY CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR .48 TEST VALUE Axis 1 Axis 2 4.03 -0. exam difficulty.62 0. bad students perceive some personal causes such as effort and ability to study as external ones.20 0.8 -1. Argentinean students have a connotative-affective perception of these causes more proximate to theoretical meaning.6 2 LUCK CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 3.39 24. Brazilian students perceive environmental causes (luck.07 -0.2 -3.4 1.5 -2. family help and teacher bias) as internal ones.44 -0.25 0. teacher help. TABLE 4: Frequencies.2 -0.17 -0.75 -0.08 0. NOMINAL VARIABLES Fr * DIST** COORDINATE Axis 1 1.03 0. and test values of the semantic evaluation of specific causes along the controllability (controllable-uncontrollable) dimension. while these causes are internal for good students.11 FIGURE 2: Projections on the factorial plane of the connotative meaning of nominal illustrative variables (specific causes).

83 -0.30 0.15 -0. evaluated along the controllability dimension. EXAM DIFFICULTY CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 6.83 -0.5 4.77 3.73 5.2 0.22 0.11 0.7 -1.8 3.3 -11.1 12.0 2.5 -1.11 -0.8 -0.22 0.99 -0.5 -3.58 5. .01 -0.64 1.06 -0.02 -0.01 -0.30 0.23 0.0 3.05 -0.07 -0.4 0.9 -0.16 -0.5 6.2 -0.0 2.03 -1. HOME CONDITIONS CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 10.04 -0.8 -0.49 0.08 0.06 -0.8 1.8 -2.5 -5.5 -2.9 The extreme modalities (very controllable and very uncontrollable) were assimilating to controllable and uncontrollable modalities respectively because of their scanty frequencies.45 2.58 1.04 -0.10 0.12 UNCONTROL 4.25 -0. (*) Frequency (**) Distance to centre of gravity FIGURE 3: Projections on the factorial plane of the connotative meaning of nominal illustrative variables (specific causes).10 0.4 -0.4 0.07 -0.04 -0.7 0.0 2.0 -1. TEACHER BIAS CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 53 652 149 232 343 130 560 715 135 183 379 157 497 737 100 196 625 124 284 274 240 519 18.30 0.33 4.49 -0.12 0.12 0.1 3.08 0.9 -2.02 -0.01 -0.17 0. TEACHER HELP CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 8.8 5.10 -0.01 6.02 -0.93 3.1 -4.01 0.27 0.7 -0.06 0.65 4.84 0.40 9.7 -0.44 0.33 2. MOOD CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 9.9 -4.20 0.3 -2.0 -0.5 3. INTELLIGENCE CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 7.0 3.14 -0.25 -0.01 0.6 -1.64 2.95 0.3 -0. FAMILY HELP CONTROL NON CONTR-UNCTR UNCONTROL 5.7 -0.12 -0.17 0.2 -2.9 -2.65 7.2 -2.12 -0.

5 1.11 -0.02 -0.2 1. ability to study and mood are uncontrollable ones.7 -5.00 -0.17 13.16 -0. while causes such as luck. On the other pole of axis 1.0 3.61 0. intelligence.8 -2.1 -1. On the opposite.17 0.7 2.22 9.43 0.1 7.66 0.05 -0.09 -0.65 -0.4 -1.71 7.52 0.32 -0.66 -1.82 TEST VALUE Axis 1 Axis 2 -2. HOME CONDITIONS NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE .12 -0.91 0. TEACHER HELP NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 8.8 -0. EFFORT NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 18 591 424 129 155 749 36 853 144 69 830 134 126 551 356 89 849 95 115 358 560 75 316 642 116 748 169 56.7 -0.7 -3.5 6.05 0.08 0.09 -0.24 -0.05 -0.3 -0.20 0.4 -8.1 -0.35 0. teacher help and teacher bias are out of their control.39 0. bad students perceive some causes as lacking in connotative-affective meaning along the controllability dimension.75 1.0 -0.5 -4.4 -1.10 0. and test values of the semantic evaluation of specific causes along the stability (stable-unstable) dimension.77 2. including family help in this category.16 0.6 -5.57 -0.05 -0.27 0.6 11. ABILITY TO STUDY NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 4.13 Brazilian students believe that exam difficulty and teacher bias are causes under their control.78 -0.8 -3.01 5. Good students show a realistic attributional profile.6 -1.11 -0.9 2.52 0.4 4.2 -2.3 -1. FAMILY HELP NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 5.0 -2.9 -1.12 -0.1 -7.10 0.3 -4.84 12.09 Axis 2 -0.98 1.03 -0.2 -4.17 0. They think that effort is under their control.7 4.31 -0. while some personal causes such as effort.90 10.8 -1. Argentinean students evaluate these causes as controllable ones.0 4.87 1. EXAM DIFFICULTY NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 6.9 3.09 -0.38 27.17 0.89 0. INTELLIGENCE NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 7.9 -8.97 0.2 8.8 8.87 7.18 -0. axes co-ordinates.1 -2.38 5.14 0.31 -0.2 6.16 0.44 7.3 -3. distances to gravity centre.02 0. NOMINAL VARIABLES Fr * DIST** COORDINATE Axis 1 1.7 0.3 -1.43 -0. MOOD NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 9.6 2 LUCK NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 3.13 -0.01 -0.41 -0.5 -1.0 -0. TABLE 5: Frequencies.0 2.8 18.0 -6.27 0.71 -0.8 -3.21 6.4 5.05 0.22 0.08 0.24 6.17 -0.06 -0.61 7.61 -0.69 0.10 -0.8 -14.3 -1.03 0.11 -0.

in relation to stability perceived over time of the specific causes. In contrast. evaluated along the stability dimension. family help. .31 0.23 -0.1 The extreme modalities (very stable and very unstable) were assimilating to stable and unstable modalities respectively because of their scanty frequencies. while Brazilian student perceive these some causes as unstable ones. Figure 4 presents some important differences between nationality and academic performance. and teacher bias).15 -0. while mood and luck are perceived as unstable causes. opposite attributional mechanisms are observed.8 -2.0 4. TEACHER BIAS NON STABLE-UNSTAB STABLE UNSTABLE 206 583 244 4. (*) Frequency (**) Distance to centre of gravity FIGURE 4: Projections on the factorial plane of the connotative meaning of nominal illustrative variables (specific causes).01 0.9 -11.77 3. They think that intelligence and effort are two invariable causes over time. Good students show significant differences with bad students in relation to the stability perceived over time of same specific causes. Regarding nationality. Argentinean students perceive most of the causes as stables (ability to study.84 3. home conditions.19 0.8 -1.14 10.12 -0. bad students perceive effort as unstable and luck as stable causes.13 -0. exam difficult. Finally.4 15.

Argentinean students privilege controllability of personal causes and stability of the situational ones. construct life projects based on realistic goals and have a higher degree of internal requirement. while Brazilian students underline instability of the environmental conditions. Apart from national differences. in any area. based on the self-confidence of the own attributes. and evaluated causes as more internal and uncontrollable than Argentinean people. certain attributional and motivational contrasts vary with gender and academic performance. and those achievement-oriented). Argentinean adolescents’ differentiated causes more along the dimension linked with affect (controllability) and they didn’t show discrepancy between the perceived and theoretical dimensional meanings. an indifferent attributional attitude is observed among bad students (mainly boys. Professionals who work in educational area should . and those affiliation-oriented). The achievement and affiliation motives related to high and low academic performance were regardless the student’s nationality. Brazilian adolescents differentiated causes more along the dimensions related to expectancy of future success (stability). Brazilians’ attributional pattern. The need for interpersonal contacts deviate students from their individual tasks. In their explanations about their academic success.15 CONCLUSION Important asymmetries are observed in attributional patterns related to academic performance between Argentinean and Brazilian students. These contrasts may be consequence of different cultural background and socialization processes. successful individuals. which make them persist in the tasks to obtain such goals. according to which. A close agreement between the perceived and theoretical (pre-assigned) dimensional meaning of the specific causes could be perceived among good students (mainly girls. Argentinean attributional pattern. The affiliation motive was associated to school failure in both nationalities. would be reflecting a socialization profile characterized by collectivist values and power expectations. who perceive most of the causes as lacking in connotative-affective meaning. which would became in poor final school outcomes. It confirms former studies. could be a result of the increasing tendency towards individualistic values of the Argentinean people. and uncontrollability of individual causes. remarkably self-protective. On the other hand.

Scott.16 adopt strategies to avoid such behaviors when they occur at an exaggerated level in the classroom. Veroff. 1119-1127. M. Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behaviour. Kleiber and M. and exam performance. Journal of Educational Psychology.H. New York: Holt.L. J. New York: Dryden Press. New York: Cambridge University Press.. (1999). Un estudio entre Argentina. An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. Escofier. Uribe. McClelland. Semantic differential placement of attributions and dimensions. A. & Higgins. A. (1986).. Greenwich. D. Omar. Human motivation. McGregor. (2000). In conclusion.A. Rinehart and Winston.). J.H. B. Poortinga.. B. CT. T. New York: SpringerVerlag. Weiner.. E. Analyses factorielles simples et multiples. M. 76. Rizza. & Gable. REFERENCES Berry. (1985). & Terrones. H. Brasil y México. J.H. & Smith. Assmar. A. & Spies.A. (1992). (1999). Correspondence Analysis Handbook. Human motivation. A. (1980). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications. Learning to play the game: females students discuss their success in high school. Journal of Educational Gifted.R. A.. New York: Marcel Dekber. P. & Pages. Y. Glenview. (1992). B. 549-563. Segall. C. Advances in motivation and achievements: Motivation and adulthood. S. study strategies. however it does not necessarily contribute to a better comprehension of the relationship between social motivation and academic outcomes. Manuel de Price en Main. 243-265. Revista Mexicana de Psicología.. IL.. (1957). Morineau. C. Maehr (Eds. New York: Guilford Press.. H. Atribución transcultural del rendimiento académico. E. 22. (1986).C. 163-170. 91. Journal of Educational Psychology. The social desirability variable in personality assessment and research. Ferreira.J. (1985). Benzecri. Motives and values over the adult years. (1984). JAI Press. nationality seems to be an important condition for having a different attributional profile with respect to academic performance. (1988). Sorrentino. J. Weiner. Statistique Pour Analyses des Donneés (SPAD-Integré. Paris: Dunod. & Dasen. 17. (1999). Foresman and Co. Paris: Centre International de Statistiques et d’Informatique Appliquées. D. . Version 4). Elliot.M. Achievement goals.G. Edwards. R. In D.T. Chandler.

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