Dispositional Attribution By Kendra Goff

Dispositional Attribution is when we attribute someone’s behavior to an internal trait they possess. A great example of this is in the I Love Lucy episode “No Children Allowed”. (First 5 minutes)


This clip we see dispositional attribution three different times. When Ethel first defends Lucy, Lucy attributes Ethel’s behavior to being “the swellest friend a person ever had”. Lucy is grateful for Ethel’s noble stand on her behalf. The second time we see dispositional attribution is in the second scene when Ethel is reenacting what happened for Ricky and Fred. When she is through, Ricky attributes Ethel’s behavior to one of her internal traits by saying, “Ethel I think that you’re just wonderful.” In this same scene we get the third example of dispositional attribution again from Lucy. After Fred and Ethel leave, Lucy explains to Ricky that Ethel has reenacted what happened several times that day. We can see from the exasperated expression on Lucy’s face that she’s tired of hearing it. At the end of the clip she seems to be attributing Ethel’s behavior to her “attention-seeking” trait rather than her “good friend” trait.

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