• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain two Attributional Biases

Extracts from this document...


Explain two Attributional Biases There is much evidence that we tend to attribute our own behaviour to the situation and others to their dispositions. This has come to be known as the fundamental attribution error (FAE) or the correspondence bias. The FAE has been subject to a considerable amount of investigation. Ross (1977) set up a quiz show, in which participants were randomly given the role of questioner or contestant. Although both observers and participants knew that the roles had been randomly assigned, they still rated the questioner as being more knowledgeable than the contestant was. This meant they were ignoring situational variables such as the fact that the questioner had free choice of subject, and so could choose questions from their own specialist knowledge, whereas the contestants had no such choice. ...read more.


This shows that manipulating the focus of people's visual awareness can influence the attributions they make. Many explanations for the fundamental attribution error assume that it is a consequence of general cognitive processes. But there is strong evidence that this error is not present in other cultures. It appears to be present in individualistic cultures but not in collectivistic cultures. Miller (1984) showed that dispositional attributions increased with age in American society, suggesting learning was taking place, but remained low and stable with age within Hindu society. These differences could be because of genuine differences in the causes of behaviour within the two cultures. Despite popular notions that virtually everyone suffers from low self-esteem, one of the most firmly established findings in social psychology concerns the power of self-serving bias, or the tendency to perceive oneself favourably. ...read more.


Another instance of self-serving bias occurs when we compare ourselves with others. In nearly any socially desirable situation, we are likely to rate ourselves as better than average. For example, only 1% of Australians rate their job performance as below average; most Dutch students believe they are more honest, persistent and friendly than average; and 25% of American students believe they are in the top 1% in their ability to get along with others. Self-serving bias can protect us from the negative effects of low self-esteem, which may include vulnerability to anxiety and depression. Research on depression has shown that mildly depressed individuals have a more accurate picture of themselves and of how others see them. On the other hand, an extreme self-serving bias can make a person egotistical and deceitful, and can interfere with intergroup relations in work and social situations. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. What are attribution biases and when do they occur?

    then we should discount the impact of personal factors and draw no firm conclusions about the actor's underlying dispositions. Contrary to their predictions, Jones and Harris (1967) found that participants tended to attribute expressed opinions to corresponding personal attitudes even in situations where actors clearly had no choice about what opinion to express.

  2. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    In viewing television a parent, relative or adult guardian is normally present to contextualise the information for the child. Secondly the children were in an unfamiliar surroundings while they normally view television in a familiar surroundings for example at home.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work