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Fundamental Attribution

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Activity 5.1: Overcoming the Fundamental Attribution Error

1. What is the fundamental attribution error?
Our human tendency to assume that other people’s behavior is due to something about their personality, while at the same time failing to consider possible situational influence.

2. Describe a situation from your own life when you made an internal attribution about someone’s behavior, potentially committing the fundamental attribution error.
There are times when I make internal attributions about people, especially if I see them yelling at their children or other people. I often catch myself speaking loudly when I am upset, It is something I am aware that I do, so I try to prevent myself from doing it especially sense I think so un-highly of those that do yell.

3. What internal attribution did you make in that situation?
My internal attribution to a parent yelling at a child is that they are a bad parent and can’t control their anger.

4. What three questions would you have to ask yourself to see if your internal attribution was correct?
The three questions that I would have to ask myself to see if my internal attribution was correct would be; consistency, distinctiveness and consensus. Consistency is whether a particular behavior typically occurs in that situation. Distinctiveness is whether a particular behavior typically occurs in other situations. Consensus is whether other people typically exhibit this behavior in this situation.

5. To the best of your knowledge, what is the answer to each of the three questions you identified in Question 4?
Consistency- Yes, it seems this person consistently yells at her children. Distinctiveness-No, she usually only yells at her children when they misbehave. Consensus- Yes, others do lose their temper occasionally when their children misbehave.

6. Did you make the fundamental attribution error…...

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