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Attributional Biases

Decent Essays
After learning about the common attributional biases, I decided to reflect on how I usually make attributions. It was then that I realise I have been attributing causes erroneously. Out of the three most common biases, namely, fundamental attribution error, actor-observer effect and self-serving bias, I feel that I am most susceptible to the actor-observer effect. Just like how the effect is defined in the textbook, I tend to attribute my own behavior to situational factors while attributing other’s behavior to his or her personality traits or dispositions. Using a recent test I took as an example, many students, including myself, did not perform well but when asked for the reason for my poor performance, I attributed it to the lack of preparation time due to the need to study for another test which I had taken a day before. However, for the others who did not do well, I associated their poor performance to not studying hard enough. This example clearly shows how I put the blame on the situation instead of myself for my lousy time management but…show more content…
When we are the observers, however, we can observe the behaviors of others easily. As a result, it is more likely for us to consider situational forces when attributing our own actions and focus on internal factors such as ability, attitudes, personality and effort when explaining others’ behaviors. Another reason could be that we are afraid of hurting our self-esteem if we link negative experiences to our internal characteristics thus we blame the situational factors instead. Furthermore, when we associate others’ negative experiences to their internal characteristics, it may make us feel that we are better as ours is due to unpleasant circumstances. Therefore, I feel that actor-observer effect may be a result of our ability to see others’ behaviors but not our own, and that we want to protect our
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