Attribution biases are biases that affect the way we determine who and what is responsible for an event or action. It links closely to social cognition, for example, the role of mind in our social behavior, how our thoughts are influenced by social situations, and how our thoughts influence social behavior. Attribution biases are based on situational and dispositional factors.
Situational factors are something to so with personal factors, and dispositional factors are something to do with external factors. These examples also link to the principles of the sociocultural level of analysis, human beings are social animal and culture influences behaviors. Fundamental attribution error (FAE) means people tend to overestimate dispositional factors and underestimate situational factors when they witness an event or action.
This is because when people consider their behavior, they would think they have acted differently under different circumstances, and sometimes they do not have enough information of the event to make a balance judgment or decision, so they attribute behavior to disposition. There are supporting evidences for fundamental attribution errors, for example, the Jone Et Al study. The method of this experiment is that some students read aloud an essay, and students listening to it were told that this essay wasn’t the student’s own work.
The finding is that students still assumed to have opinions of essay read out, therefore attribution essay to dispositional factors, it is because they were only told that “It was not the students own work”, the students have not taken into account the situational. Lee Et Al’s study also supports fundamental attribution errors. It is a simply lab experiment, participants are separated into 3 groups, game host, contestants and audiences. Then audiences watch the game show and were asked to rank if the game show host or the contestant on intelligence.
The finding is that game show host was attributed to be the most intelligent. In conclusion, people overestimated dispositional factors rather than the situation in road accidents, they did not look at the situation which was that the game show host only read questions and answers and presumed they were intelligent, even though the audiences knew they were all role playing. These studies help to support fundamental attribution errors they illustrate how our mind get influence by social situations and how our thoughts influence social behavior.
People are more likely to blame on the person or object and not look at the situation. And therefore leads to illogical conclusions. Self-serving bias is another error in attributions. It is when people take credit for their successes and interpret events to favor ourselves, for example, in a football game, the coach tend to attribute his team in internal factors instead of external factors, and when they loses, they will blame on the external factors because they want to dissociate themselves from failures.
This is because people want to keep and protect their self-esteem. There are some evidences that go against Abramson et Al’s study and self-serving bias. In some cases, it is not true for everybody that people attributes as self-serving bias. For example, depressed people tend to blame on internal factors instead of external factors, it is because they have low self esteem. And stressful people attribute success to external factors. These examples are exception to the rule of self-serving bias.
Somehow, there are advantages about attribution biases. Plausible that witness can be caused stress, leading to dispositional attributions, and plausible that victims are personally affected by crime. However, attribution bias can lead results to be inaccurate, majority of evidence are biased, since eye witnesses are more likely to blame on situational factors and exaggerating how much they involved. These can lead results and conclusions are not reliable. Cultural differences can also affect the way of self-serving bias.
In Kashima and Triandis’ study, results are carried from two different countries, Japan and America. They found out that the Americans tended to be attributing their success to ability and the Japanese tended to explain their failures to their lack of ability. The results are different because of their influence of culture and lead them to be modesty bias. People are different in modesty due to their culture, society and nature. In conclusion, if people get their self-esteem from group identity, they are less to be self-serving bias and being modesty bias.