Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fundamental Attribution Error

Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), sometimes called the Correspondence Bias, is the tendency to draw inferences about a person's unique and enduring dispositions from behaviors that can be entirely explained by the situations in which they occur. The causes and consequences for FAE still remain poorly understood. No one has yet found a simple formula for understanding others. Often character, motive, desire, and intention play leading roles in people's views of others, but none of these things can be physically observed. And when one infers from the invisible they risk making a mistake. An example of FAE would be: if you saw someone trip over a rock and fall, you might consider the person to be clumsy or careless. (dispositional) But if you yourself tripped over the same rock, you may be more likely to blame the placement of the rock (situational). A primary reason for FAE is that people rely on different sources of information to judge their own behavior and that of others. We know what we are thinking but we cannot always know what others are thinking and feeling. When we judge the behaviors of others we only have their behavior to guide our interpretations. People often judge people based off of three biases: the bias to chose the most flattering and forgiving attributions of our own lapses, the bias that we are better, smarter, and kinder than others, and the bias to believe that the world is fair. The attributions you make about others such as your partner, parents and friends will ultimately affect how you get along with them.

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