Fundamental Attribution Error

When a person has committed the “fundamental attribution error,” they have attributed a person’s behavior to personal (internal) factors, without considering the environmental (external) circumstances involved with the situation.  

For example: one might think that Jenny is simply an overall mean person, because she is always biting in her remarks and she seems to have a sour look on her face all the time; what we fail to understand or consider is that Jenny’s parents are in the middle of a divorce and their ongoing arguments are having a negative impact on Jenny’s life.

“Fundamental” signifies the pervasive nature of this line of thinking among human beings; “attribution” is a classification of thought in which people feel the need to attribute/apply explanations for the behavior of others; “error” signifies how the mind tends to work fallaciously/incompletely to ascertain the truth of a matter, thus formulating a misrepresentation of reality.

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