Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology Fundamental Attribution Error: the tendency for observers, when analyzing another"s behaviour, to underestimate the impact of the situation."— Presentation transcript:




You are watching: The tendency for observers to underestimate the impact of the situation

1 Social Psychology Fundamental Attribution Error: the tendency for observers, when analyzing another"s behaviour, to underestimate the impact of the situation to overestimate the impact of personal disposition. The fundamental attribution error appears more often in individualistic cultures that communitarian ones. East Asians are more sensitive to the power of the situation. (Heine & Ruby, 2010). In an experiment that asked people to view scenes, such as a big fish swimming, Americans focused more on the individual fish, Japanese more on the whole scene. (Chua et al., 2005). When we explain our own behaviour, we are sensitive to how behaviour changes with the situation. (Idsen & Michel, 2001).

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2 Fundamental Attribution Error Cont"d Some 7 in 10 college women report having experienced a man misattributing her friendliness as a sexual come-on. (Jacques-Tiura et al., 2007) How do we explain poverty or unemployment? In Britain, India, Australia & the U.S. political conservatives tend to place the blame on the personal dispositions of the poor and unemployed. (Zucker & Weiner, 1993) Political liberals and social scientists are more likely to blame past & present situations. Attitudes are feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events. If we belief someone is threatening us, we may feel fear and act defensively.

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3 Attitudes Peripheral Route Persuasion occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker"s attractiveness, such as celebrity endorsements. Central route persuasion occurs when interested people focus one the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts. Because it is more thoughtful and less superficial, it is more durable and more likely to influence behaviour. Strong social pressures can weaken the attitude-behaviour connection. (Wallace et al., 2005) Attitudes are especially likely to affect behaviour when external influences are minimal, and when the attitude is stable, specific to the behaviour, and easily recalled. (Glasman & Albarracin, 2006).

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4 Actions Affect Attitudes Foot-in-the-door phenomenon is the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request. Korean and Chinese communists were able to get U.S. prisoners to denounce capitalism by beginning with harmless requests, such as copying a trivial statement, then gradually escalating their demands. (Schein, 1956). In one classic experiment, researchers posing as safe- driving volunteers asked Californians to permit the installation of a large, poorly lettered “Drive Carefully” sign on their yards; 76% consented. (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). To secure a big commitment, start small and build.

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5 Role Playing Affects Attitudes Zimbardo (1972) randomly assigned graduate students to be prison guards, others to be prisoners, complete with gear. The simulation got too real very quickly. Most guards developed disparaging attitudes, and some devised cruel and degrading routines for the prisoners. One by one the prisoners broke down, rebelled, or became passively resigned. After only six days, Zimbardo called off the study. (But he still got a Ph.D. from it.) Cognitive dissonance: we act to reduce the discomfort when our thoughts and actions are inconsistent, normally reducing dissonance by rationalizing behaviours and changing attitudes. 58% of Americans revised their memories of the Iraq War; it was a movement to liberate a repressed people and promote democracy,supporting the war, even if no WND were found.

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(Gallup, 2003).

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