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Discuss the different errors involved in attribution. Attribution: explanation of causes of behavior.

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Attribution (in psychology) is a term which denotes how individuals explain behavior, their own and the behavior of others.  Attribution can be internal (causes are from within, personality or genetic predispositions) or external (causes are from without, environmental or situational factors).

Errors in attribution tend to be a result of problems in perspective.  Individuals often error in making attributions about their own behavior because they focus more on the external factors than the internal (and therefore behavioral) reactions.  On the other hand, when individuals error in making attributions about the behavior of others, most often, too much emphasis is placed on assumed internal factors, while external factors often remain unknown.  There are two prominent and defined errors in attribution.

The first is a fundamental attribution error.  It occurs when an observer emphasizes internal rather than external factors as the cause for a behavior.  An example of this error is when the observer wrongly labels a person "a jerk" rather than seeking an external factor which may be causing mean or aggressive behavior.

The second is a self-serving bias, which is the human tendency to equate personal success with internal factors ("I did that because I am smart and organized!") and failure with external factors ("Everyone else dropped the ball.  It was their fault I failed, not mine!")

Other errors and biases include:

The spotlight effect: a personal attribution error, where the observer is the participant and...

(The entire section contains 475 words.)

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