1 min video Fundamental attribution error

We are most likely to attribute a certain behavior of others as their internal personality trait (mostly negative) and often underestimate the influence that external factors, such as situational influences, have on another person’s behavior.

And when the finger is pointing at us, we attribute the same behavior at the external event unconsciously for the sole purpose of protecting our self esteem.

This is the fundamental error that we make when trying to ascribe a meaning to someone’s behavior or a cause of an event.

We are biased and unjust in our judgement.

For example,

When you ask a stranger for directions but they give you a seemingly snarky response or they’re simply rude to you. Naturally you would peg this person as rude and having a bad personality, but looking past their initial first impression they may have had a bad day putting them in a foul mood or they’ve just received some devastatingly bad news and you were the first person they have come into contact with since receiving this news. They acted the way they did not because of their natural personality (most people are generally polite to strangers) but their circumstances made them act they way they did, in this case it was just having a bad day which was the cause.

So, next time when you are about to judge someone, wait for a second and see if the behavior of that person is truly internal or if he/she is just having a bad day (external influence)​

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