HOME
CONCEPTS
   Fundamental Attribution Error

       The fundamental attribution error is an important
concept in psychology.  Thus, it is important to define
the fundamental attribution error.  What is the
fundamental attribution error?  Below is one definition
of the fundamental attribution error.

Fundamental Attribution Error Definition:

The fundamental attribution error occurs when we
overestimate how much another person's behavior can
be explained by dispositional factors. It reflects failing
to adequately consider the role of some situational
factors that may affect a person's behavior.

Fundamental Attribution Error Example:

         Imagine you are taking a college course.  You
observe that there is a student in the class that has been
very quiet during the entire term.  The student does not
even talk during the class discussions.  You conclude
that the student is a very quiet and shy person.  In this
example, it is possible that we may wrongly assume that
the student's quiet behavior reflects his or her
personality, and we may fail to adequately consider
some situational factors that could explain the student's
behavior.  For example, we may not consider that the
person may find the course very boring, or the person is
experiencing difficulty and does not feel like talking in
class.