This article is about the social psychology term. For the legal term, fundamental analysis example pdf Fundamental error.

The phrase was coined by Lee Ross some years after a classic experiment by Edward E. As a simple example of the behavior attribution error theory seeks to explain, consider the situation where Alice, a driver, is cut off in traffic by Bob. Alice attributes Bob’s behavior to his fundamental personality, e. Jones and Harris hypothesized, based on the correspondent inference theory, that people would attribute apparently freely chosen behaviors to disposition and apparently chance-directed behaviors to situation.

The hypothesis was confounded by the fundamental attribution error. Subjects in an experiment read essays for and against Fidel Castro and were asked to rate the pro-Castro attitudes of the writers. When the subjects believed that the writers freely chose positions for or against Castro, they would normally rate the people who spoke in liking of Castro as having a more positive attitude towards Castro. The hypothesis that people tend to over-attribute behavior to traits, or at least do so for the behavior of others, has been contested. These behavioral consistencies are what “traits” describe. These analyses allowed a systematic review of where, if at all, the effect holds.

Several theories predict the fundamental attribution error, and thus both compete to explain it, and can be falsified if it does not occur. The belief that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get, the concept of which was first theorized by Melvin J. We tend to attribute an observed effect to potential causes that capture our attention. When we observe other people, the person is the primary reference point while the situation is overlooked as if it is nothing but mere background. Sometimes, even though we are aware that the person’s behavior is constrained by situational factors, we still commit the fundamental attribution error.