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The present study investigated intergroup bias in achievement attributions in a sample of 62 German and 55 Turkish pupils (aged 15 years) in the Federal Republic of Germany. The design was 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 (Ethnic Group x Outgroup Prejudice x Outcome x Stimulus) with repeated measures on the last two factors. Subjects attributed examination performance to ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty. Intergroup bias was limited to German pupils, who attributed failure of an ingroup member or self more to bad luck than they did that of an outgroup member. Turkish pupils acted more in terms of self than ingroup, attributing the success of another Turkish child more to good luck than they did that of self or an outgroup member. They also failed to distinguish clearly between success and failure in their task attributions. Results are discussed in terms of the inventive nature of explanations for ability-linked performance and the motivational consequences of causal attributions.

Original publication




Journal article


J Soc Psychol

Publication Date





459 - 470


Achievement, Child, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Female, Germany, West, Humans, Internal-External Control, Male, Prejudice, Self Concept, Turkey