Social Psychology : Fundamental Attribution Error Essay

851 Words 4 Pages
In social psychology, fundamental attribution error is described as the tendency of people to attribute the behaviors of others to internal factors --such as character, personality, and intent-- rather than resulting from external factors and/or circumstance (Schwarz, 2014). This contrasts with an individual 's self-perception, which accounts for all readily available knowledge of personal circumstance, when evaluating personal behavior. Fundamental attribution error is an intensely common psychological phenomenon, and has rightly earned itself the ‘fundamental’ title. There are several theories as to the causes of fundamental attribution error, all of which are related to information incompleteness. The frequency of fundamental attribution error has been explained though theoretical beliefs of: karma; availability bias; imaginative limitation; cognitive fatigue; and cultural conditioning (Tetlock, 1985).
Ultimately, fundamental attribution errors are the inevitable result from the reality of imperfect information. Without omniscience, causality eventually must be determined by a certain degree of assumption (Kahneman, 2011). Which, by the limits of human imagination, is prone to error. To overcome fundamental attribution error, it is important to be conscious of personal ignorance, and have to maintain a healthy curiosity, whilst also incorporating the two step process (Kahneman, 2011). Through the questioning and investigation of assumptions, fundamental attribution…

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