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the study of how people understand and make sense of others and themselves
theories of how people go about explaining others and their own behavior
(situational causes) – all causes are external to the person (pressure from others, money, the situations, etc)
(dispositional causes) – all causes are internal to the person (moods, attitudes, personality traits abilities, etc.)
the idea that we should attribute behavior to potential causes that co-occur with the behavior
: does the person usually behave this way in this situation?
does the person behave differently in different situations?
do others behave similarly in this situation?
a persons habitual way of explaining events, typically assessed along 3 dimensions; internal/external, stable/unstable, global/specific
pessimistic explanatory style
- the tendency to see negative events as cause by internal and stable factors.
- Associated with depression, risk for disease, low self-esteem, helplessness, and loneliness
fundamental attribution error
tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences on others’ behavior ( and vice versa for the self)
Why does the fundamental attribution error occur?
- Belief in a just world –People “get what they deserve”
- This suggests that other people cause their own outcomes (dispositional), whereas we are the victims of circumstance
- when we act, we notice the situation, when others act, we notice the person
- Attention on the person rather than the situation
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