Ex. when a goalie misses a save, we are more likely to conclude that the goalie lacks skill than to
consider the possibility that his sightlines were blocked.
[Jones and Harris] Experiment on fundamental attribution error: Fidel Castro’s rule of Cuba
found that people did not take into account the situational demands on the writer who was
assigned a position, if the writer’s statements about Castro were positive, people took those
statements to match the writer’s beliefs
Associated with ‘victim blaming – belief in a just world’
Actor-observer effect: tendency to attribute one’s own behaviour to external factors but other’s
behaviour to internal factors
When we explain our own behaviour, we are not likely to make the fundamental attribution error
[Orvis, Kelly & Butler] study of university-age male-female couples demonstrates actor-observer
Two Reasons for this bias: 1) different focus of attention when we view ourselves. We do not see our
own behaviour as clearly as it would with other people. We would focus more on our environment
and focus less on theirs (won’t read situations) 2) more info about our behaviour and realize that
it’s often inconsistent, better notion of which stimuli we are attending to in a given situation
Self-serving bias: tendency to attribute our accomplishments and success to internal causes and
our failures and mistakes to external causes, we do this to protect our self-esteem and vice versa to
False Consensus: tendency of an observer to perceive his or her own response as a representative of a
[McFarland and Miller] asked psychology students to indicate in which of two unpleasant
experiments they would prefer to participate. Regardless of their choice, they believed that the
majority of other students would select the same experiment they had.
One explanation accounts is in terms of self-esteem. Another is that people tend to place
themselves in the company of others who are similar to themselves.
Representativeness Heuristic: general rule for decision making by which people classify a person, place or
thing into category to which it appears to be the most similar.
By noticing clothes, hairstyle, posture, manner of speaking, hand gestures, and other
characteristics, we can match people with stereotypes and conclude that they fit in that category.
Based on our ability to categorize information, we observe that characteristics tend to go together
and can predict people’s behaviour fairly accurately
Base rate fallacy: failure to consider the likelihood that a person, place of thing is a member of a
particular category on the basis of mathematical probabilities