Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fundamental Attribution Error

The Fundamental attribution error, also called correspondence bias, is how one blames someone's characteristics and personality and underestimates the environmental/situational reasons when observing one's behavior. When trying to understand someone's behavior, one usually looks at the person's behavior as the significant factor. We usually over look what is happening in the environment when observing ones behavior, traits, motives, abilities, etc. The way we act this way may be due to the fact that we know very little about the situation. Some consider this way of thinking as one of the root principles in social psychology. It is interesting how we tend to act this way when observing others, but when we think about ourselves, we usually make situational attributions. This way of thinking also shows how people want to understand a situation and one's behavior in that situation in a rational way. In other words, one may think someone else's intentions are bad or malicious, but in reality they were accidental. An example of the fundamental attribution error could be, say you were walking down a sidewalk carrying multiple shopping bags. If someone bumped into you, you would most likely assume they were being careless or rude. You may fail to consider that the person ran into you because someone else bumped into that person causing him to bump into you, or that your shopping bags may be taking up more space than you think they are.

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