Doc… folks don’t usually give one another a break… and worse… get angry with reasons that over speculate. Audra… your defining fundamental attribution error… “Blind rush to judgement” is its trait. The bias falsely attaches exaggerated negative character and personality qualities to another’s deeds… while simultaneously underestimating situations that may explain the innocent bystander’s actions and needs.
Fundamental Attribution Error molds inaccurate judgements made in the blink of an eye. The influenced assessor believes bad things come from bad people… whose actions are flashing neon signs exposing dishonesty, selfishness, arrogance, and many more horrible traits a terrible person can apply. The fundamental attribution error world as a whole…is a biased place where situational factors don’t exist, count, or play a role.
A simple example… A student texting a very kind and thoughtful professor… feels a need for immediate attention. No initial response is received… The student tries again… still no answer… The indignant student immediately rationalizes the professor has fooled everyone… there’s no kindness… just an ego-centered person in every possible dimension. Yet the real reason the professor doesn’t respond… rests on a tight deadline that’s escaped being known… Papers need correcting and grades submitted… duties capturing full focus away from hearing… or seeing texts tweeting on a phone.
Fundamental attribution errors are made almost always about another. We think our actions are sound while it’s others whose defective decisions irresponsibly smother. Fundamental attribution error is closely related to fundamental selfishness error, or the “all about me” effect. Feeling “being disrespected” in general is so common that a shortened version describes it… One feels “dissed” in every respect.
When it comes to controlling fundamental attribution error… before jumping to conclusions and tarnishing another with negative delusions… It’s a Funny Feeling to know most folks are decent and GOOD… and deserve to be treated respectfully… and not unkindly MISUNDERSTOOD….
Copyright Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Air Date April 4, 2019