Fundamental Attribution Theory

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Fundamental attribution effect is one’s tendency to explain other’s behavior based on internal factors like personality and disposition. This theory explains that the impact of situational influences have on other's behavior is often underestimated when considering someone else's behavior. However, the theory also explains that when considering the inverse, our own behavior, situational factors are taken into more consideration. This discrepancy is where the "error" or "bias" or "effect" comes into play. The fundamental attribution effect analyzes how people come to reach dispositional assumptions, which can provide insight as to why there are common tendencies for error or bias in social behavior. For example, a dispositional assumption …show more content…
Generally, someone will answer with something of the nature of “I don’t speed”, yet can also recall a time they received a speeding ticket. The social receivers discussing the speeder are using the external factors of speeding, weaving in and out of cars, and generally having no regard for anyone else as the situation and have jumped to dispositional conclusions. These are dispositional conclusions, like the speeder is inconsiderate, unsafe and has no regard for the law or well being of others. When the social receiver is discussing why they received a speeding ticket their answer will generally be something of the nature of “the speed limit was not posted” or “it isn’t my fault, the speed limit should be higher in that area”. This is showing the actor observer effect which is the tendency to make external attributions for one’s behavior. This theory argues that our social behavior is more likely to implicate external attributions for our own failures, which are generally stronger for negative behaviors than …show more content…
Fundamental attribution error is common when people judge others behaviors but not their own. A person that has significant motivation and resources can correct their initial dispositional attributions made by internal attributions if they are cognitively busy a person is generally unable to make the cognitive correction. A person’s tendency is to make internal attributions in regards to others behaviors and external attributions for their own. This is know as the actor observer effect and can be reversed by changing a persons visual perspective. An example of this using the above scenario of the speeder, if there are sirens blaring and lights flashing as the speeder weaved in and out of traffic a situational attribution would be made and a positive distributional attribution would be assumed with no negative social outcome

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