The Fundamental Attribution Error: Judging Without Knowing

Judgments, we all make them specifically in social situations; we often judge people and tack labels to them such as rude or bad-tempered etc. This is the Attribution Theory; this states that people attribute behaviors to their internal disposition or external situations, for example, say you are driving in your car and another person speeds past you and cuts you off, and generally people curse and immediately decide that they are rude or something similarly negative.

We do this to explain the other person but it is actually more like assuming, and your assumption of that person is likely wrong, being as you have only seen them in that one situation. That situation may or may not have been an isolated case, there is knowledge about the situation that you don’t have for all that we know that person is being as they are because they have a relative that is dying or in an emergency and they care about that person, or they will lose their job if they are late for work again and need the money to support their family. This assumption process is the Fundamental Attribution Error, the process of making judgments based on seeing a person in only one light.

Read more about attribution theory:

Simply Psychology: Attribution Theory

Psychwiki: The Fundamental Attribution Error


About Thain

I am a high school senior with a strong interest in psychology and philosophy; my interest in psychology stems from my analytical thinking, I analyze just about everything. It is similar for philosophy except that everything is more in theory than in fact. These all compound to create the reason why I joined HNWF; self help type stuff has a lot of psychological principles in it and surrounding it. I joined because I was surrounded by it and the idea of being part of it interested me.

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