Attribution error

Once we have a colleague conducted training for employees of a large organization. Participants were many, and they were divided into two groups:

those who worked in the morning, and those who came after lunch.

My colleague is a very good psychologist, and social psychology (human interaction) - it's his specialty. After two days, he said, "The second group is more active and motivated. Strange, because there are older audience, and they show more interest in information than younger audience. "

At that time he had not thought of that time of day affects the activity of people and is usually in the morning, most people less talkative.

This phenomenon is well known in social psychology called fundamental attribution error - the depreciation of the role of the situation and re-evaluation of personal characteristics of the participants in this situation. Although, in my opinion, the "error" loudly, here there is a distortion. But so it was called, so we will use the common term in this article.

Example situation: the girl who came to the consultation, frustrated explains that at corporate all behave calmly, she alone is tense and nervous. Although most nervous at the beginning of the event, too, but the girl because of our "mistakes" thought otherwise.

Peter Ditto and colleagues in 1997 conducted a experiment. Young woman acquainted with the men who agreed to participate in the experiment. After the experimenters recorded where a woman reads "his" impression of these men. In cases when she spoke well, the participants felt that she really liked. When the woman said something bad, participants felt that she was forced to do the experimenters, and she obeyed the order. On this subject, conducted dozens of experiments, and they all confirm:

we find the cause of where looking for (which is beneficial for us).

If I ask you to express an opinion about some good lecturer, you are likely to say that he was talkative - forgetting that the "talkativeness" provoking situation. In ordinary life, it can be quite taciturn man. Or rather, that his talkativeness may depend on the situation, and somewhere in an unfamiliar environment or where it is not his subject, among other scholars, it can feel pretty awkward and silent.

This distortion is working, even if we are aware of the social process, distort our thinking. Thus, a person in the experiment, asking the questions in the quiz, rated as more intelligent. Why? After all, he wrote these questions on a piece of paper. Attribution error, which affects our judgments.

A man is inclined to explain their successes disposition (personality), and failures - situational (the situation is to blame) for the successes and failures of others still just the opposite.

/ Myers

The very name of this phenomenon "attribution error" already carries a negative connotation. But is it?

Author of the book "Social Psychology" psychologist Shelley Taylor believes that this is not a "mistake" and a good adaptation mechanism:

Healthy positive illusions protect us and allow, based on a positive belief in yourself to achieve greater productivity and efficiency, while a realistic analysis of their own abilities makes us more technically "sane", but less effective. It gives a comparison between healthy people and people who are depressed. So, depressed little use attribution error.

... Healthy people incredibly believe that the future will present a lot of good and a little bad. People are depressed are more realistic in assessing the future. In fact, in contrast to healthy people, people in depression are always free from the prejudices of self-esteem, the illusion of control and unrealistic vision of the future. It turns out, saying a sad but wise indeed applicable to depression.

in general, is attributed to your health!

While still useful to know for themselves their distortions and be mentally competent, not to see the conspiracy of accidents or malicious intent in man, frustrated personal grief (the situation).