Development of Causal Perception of Success and Failure

Daniel Bar-Tal, Noemi Ravgad, Dina Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One hundred and twenty-four students of third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth grades were asked to list separately, on open-ended questionnaires, all factors contributing to their success and failure on a hypothetical test. The answers were categorized, according to Elig & Frieze's Coding Scheme of Perceived Causality, into attributional categories and dimensions. The results indicated that the students used a variety of causes to explain success and failure and that the total number of causes and categories increases with age until ninth grade, decreasing in twelfth. In addition, the results showed that with age, the use of internal causes decreases; the use of external causes increases; the use of stable causes increases; and the use of unstable causes decreases. In addition, the use of intentional causes is similar across the ages, and the use of unintentional causes increases until grade nine and then decreases. The results are discussed in terms of social perception development and attributional implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-358
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1981


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