Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), also known as the correspondence bias or attribution effect is the claim that in contrast to interpretations of their own behavior, people place undue emphasis on internal characteristics of the person or team member rather than external factors in explaining other people’s behavior. This is a tendency to explain someone’s behavior based on internal factors, such as personality or disposition, and to underestimate the influence that external factors, such as situational influences, have on another person’s behaviour. This phrase was coined by Lee Ross, where fundamental attribution error forms the conceptual bedrock for the field of social psychology.
People want to blame individuals, not systems they feel better. FAE appeals to their sense of justice, blaming someone else they insulate themselves from the possibility that they would do the same thing given the right circumstances.
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