Monday, February 25, 2013

How Fundamental is "The Fundamental Attribution Error"?

This article argues that the widely recognized idea of "fundamental attribution error" may actually be neither an error nor a fundamental part of our perception. In fact, the tendency to attribute behavior to situational factors may just as likely be a fundamental error as the tendency to attribute behavior to personality or disposition. The article stresses that people overvalue or overestimate the importance of situational factors because of fundamental attribution error.

After reading about fundamental attribution error in our textbook and then reading this article, I think it is more apparent that all factors should be considered when observing behavior. it's true than a situation definitely influences our behavior, but our personality controls how we react to that situation. I think both of those play an equally important role in why we act the way we do.

There are times when the situation does change our behavior completely. For example, if we're having a bad day, we're not going to be as friendly and talkative as we usually would be. However, the article makes an excellent point. Regardless of what situation we are put into, how we react says a lot about us. It tells us what type of disposition we have, how much our emotions affect us, and other factors of our personality.

Therefore, it's hard to judge in some circumstances whether it is the situation or the person's disposition. I think the best thing scientists can do is be aware of both of these factors and perform multiple experiments in different situations and at different times in order to get an array of results. From these varied results, they can identify patterns and get a better, more accurate result.

http://www.communicationcache.com/uploads/1/0/8/8/10887248/how_fundamental_is_the_fundamental_attribution_error.pdf

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