Monday, February 20, 2012

Fundamental Attribution Error

The Fundamental Attribution Error, which is also referred to as the Correspondence Bias. Is a problem an observer of the participants of a situation experiences. The observer tends to want to blame the participants actions on traits that the participant has. So if someone trips, it is because they are clumsy. As opposed to considering outside factors, such as the floor being wet, or the participant being tired (1).
This can lead to serious problems any any field where a observer studies a subject, notably fields such as psychology and sociology. A study was done connecting this to the reason why people generally are bad at detecting lies. The study suggests determined that there is a positive correlation between, the fundamental attribution error and lie detection. That people who are better at detecting lies are also better at separating a subjects internal and external traits (2).
The Correspondence Bias goes further in describing why human behavior causes us to make these assumptions. The reasons range from,
Lack of awareness - of the subjects life, and factors that contribute to an action
Unrealistic expectations - Expecting a parent to know everything
Inflated categorization - categorizing similar people, and giving a higher general standard.
Incomplete corrections - (someone needs to explain this one to me)
These differ from the reasons for the fundamental attribution error, but at their core, they both attempt to solve this primal mistake.

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