Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Sinclair, H. Colleen

Committee Member

Giesen, J. Martin

Committee Member

Wilmoth, Joe D.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Experimental Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Research shows that interracial relationships are more likely to dissolve than same-race relationships (Bratter and King, 2008), with evidence suggesting social disapproval may play a role (Lehmiller and Agnew, 2006). However, people seem to overlook external attributions for failures and minimize internal attributions for successes when judging interracial relationships (Ellithorpe, Colvin, Missel, and Sinclair, 2012), thus making the ultimate attribution error. To test whether individuals make this error, 642 participants read one of 16 vignettes manipulating the race (Caucasian vs. African American) of relationship partners and the opinions of their parents (Approving vs. Disapproving). Participants predicted the likelihood of relationship success and indicated reasons for potential relationship outcomes. Participants were more likely to predict success for relationships that had approval, but were significantly more likely to predict failure for interracial relationships. Consistent with ultimate attribution error theory, individuals scoring high in prejudice were more likely to make these attribution patterns.