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The fundamental attribution error (FAE), also known as the correspondence bias or attribution effect, is a cognitive bias that influences how individuals perceive and interpret the behavior of others. Coined by social psychologists Lee Ross and Richard Nisbett in 1977, the FAE refers to the tendency of people to overemphasize dispositional or personality-based explanations for the actions of others while underestimating situational factors. This article explores the origins, key concepts, real-life examples, and implications of a fundamental attribution error, shedding light on human judgment and decision-making complexities.

The fundamental attribution error emerged from research conducted by Lee Ross and his colleagues in the late 1970s. The researchers observed that individuals often attribute others' behavior to internal characteristics rather than considering external situational factors. This inclination to judge others based on dispositional traits, such as personality, character, or intelligence, is fundamental to human social cognition.

The key concepts underlying the fundamental attribution error include:

Dispositional Attribution: People tend to explain the behavior of others by attributing it to inherent traits or personal characteristics. For instance, observers may assume they are lazy or irresponsible if someone is consistently late to work.

Situational Attribution: Conversely, situational attributions involve explaining behavior based on external factors or circumstances. Using the same example, considering that the person is facing transportation issues or has a problematic commute can lead to a situational attribution for their lateness.

Actor-Observer Bias: The actor-observer bias is related to the FAE but...

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