Monday, February 20, 2012

A Case of Attribution.

    In many circumstances we rely too much on explaining a situation by some corresponding biases, these are accentuated by what part we play in the recounting of a moment, whether it be the one the situation is happening to or the observer.  Just think of the numerous times your or a friend has mentioned one is acting crazy, "The bitch just went nuts", but let's take a look at this from a more social-psychological stand point:
   It is unlikely that anyone in that conversations thought to immediately take into account other factors, like extreme pressures that may have been recently placed upon the person such as a disruptive environmental change. In turn, if the conversation was to explain the same perceived behaviors, the person experiencing them would be able to shrug it off, in a meager explanation, "Sorry for being such a hot-head, I just had a really rough day, and everything went wrong... I couldn't help it."  Both of these examples, however having minor exaggeration, show the circumstantial biases, which are formally called Fundamental Attribution Error.  
    As far as attribution, or inferences on the source of actions, there are two categories, one being external or situational, or internal (dispositional) factors.  There needs to be a careful examination to ensure that the complexity of behaviors and their following responses/reactions when reasoning these engagements, as the external influences are given weight over all else. 

    This very issue, how the stability of a behavioral response may be shaped by these other factors has been studied, first and famously by Edward E. Jones and Victor Harris on positions assumed when reading essays.  There were others that followed, such as the Stanford Jail Experiment organized by Dr. Phillip Zombardo, a short-lived and improper experiment, as it ignored a constant to rule out issues happening with the variant in that participants put in power or human defacement, despite all of the men in the study were of similar mental state, age, intelligence when entering Stanford's advertisement and tests to engage in the study.  It did give a good example of how FAE morphs in such situations.  However, this faced serious ethical critique, as well as the the Milgram Experiment that he partnered with Stanley Milgram to perform, but was a bit more contained. 

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