Sunday, March 18, 2012

Essay Question

Describe the Fundamental Attribution Error:

      The Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)  "describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors." In plain english, it is the explanation of why people tend to jump to conclusions about others based on no knowledge of their situation.  

     It is easy for us to see a person on the street and make judgements about them, when in actuality their actions are almost always influinced by circumstances rather than their personality traits.  For example we could be sitting down and realize we had sat on bird crap and shout out profanities.  To us, we are angry and annyoed, so yelling profanities seems reasonable, but for someone walking by, they only see a stranger swearing and looking angry, so they will assume that we are just an angry person.  Even though we are taught to sympathize with others, we still fail to be anything but selfish when evaluating others.  

     This doesn't mean we are all the same however. I fell like the more populated and urban the area is, the more the FAE can be observed. Urban areas being more fast paced, as well as a heightened awareness of vulnerability, makes its residents learn to keep emotions out of daily life in order to lay low and stay safe. The natural side effect of this also seems to be the lack of seeing anything through other people's eyes.  

      In more tight knit communities, people have a much greater sense of community, which means the Fundamental Attribution Error is likely less prevalent. 

     Whatever the case, It seems to be only natural for us to see things only from our perspectives unless you either know the person or happen to hear the strangers explanation of the situation.

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