Ultimate attribution error
The ultimate attribution error is a group bias that explains the relations between the ingroups and outgroups and their behaviours (Pettigrew, 1979). The ultimate attribution error arises as a way to explain an outgroup’s negative behaviour as flaws in their personality, and to explain an outgroup's positive behaviour as a result of chance or circumstance. It is also the belief that positive acts performed by ingroup members are as a result of their personality, whereas if an ingroup member behaves negatively (this is believed to be rare), it is a result of situational factors (Hewstone, 1989).
The ultimate attribution error is different from other attribution errors (such as the fundamental attribution error) in that it is used to describe entire groups of people, whereas the fundamental attribution error has to do with dispositional attributions that apply only to an individual. This has led it to be considered one of the roots of prejudice.
First established by Pettigrew, the ultimate attribution error self-serving bias that influences how group members react to both outgroup and ingroup members and their actions. The ultimate attribution error dictates that negative behaviours from an outgroup member is based on the personality and characteristics of the member which is then extended to all of the members of that outgroup. Meanwhile positive behaviours in outgroup’s are based on luck, situational or circumstantial factors. On the other hand negative behaviours committed by ingroup members will be judged as situational factors rather than personality factors as compared to outgroup members. Furthermore positive behaviours from ingroup members are attributed to the personality and the characteristics of the ingroup members. This attribution is considered a root of prejudice as people who commit this attribution will usually see members of other races, religions, cultures, or even social class an as genetically and/or dispositionally inferior or flawed, while people from their own racial, cultural, or religious ingroup, upon committing the same negative behaviours, are good people who are dealing with specific situations the best they can. This results in a reduced chance of accepting an outgroup as any positive behaviours are downplayed while negative behaviours are highlighted. Ultimate attribution error is used worldwide in many cultures and races(Taylor & Jaggi, 1974; Duncan, 1976 ) and therefore is seen to be an influential cognitive process in humans.
Numerous studies have been found supporting the ultimate attribution error:
• Duncan (1976)  asked White participants to watch a video of a man shoving another man. One video had a Caucasian male shoving another Caucasian male and a second video had an African American male shoving a Caucasian male. When the participants watched the first video they concluded that the Caucasian male doing the shoving was attributed to having fun (a situational factor), but when they watched the second video they attributed the African American’s behavior to an aggressive personality. The results of Duncan's study demonstrates that ultimate attribution error is more likely to occur when there are negative associations with members of an outgroup due to previous conflict or certain situations that were experienced (Whitley & Kite, 2010).
• Morris and Peng (1994) found that American participants explained murders carried out by an American to be due to situational factors but when carried out by a Chinese man were due to personality factors. Meanwhile Chinese participants explained murders carried out by an American to be due to personality but murder by a Chinese man to be due to situational factor.
• Taylor and Jaggi (1974) found that participants (Hindus) predicted the ingroup (Hindus) made more internal attributions to positive behaviours whereas the outgroup (Muslims) made more external attributions to positive behaviours.
These studies support the fundamental attribution error and how it can affect people’s perceptions of outgroups.
Reducing Ultimate Attribution Error 
Studies have been carried out looking at reduced prejudice towards outgroups. Studies such as ones carried out by Crisp and Turner (2009) and Buswell (2006) found a number of factors that help reduce prejudice which could have been caused by the ultimate attribution error. These factors are:
1. Evoking Empathy felt towards the outside group (Buswell, 2006)
2. Increasing contact forms to the outside group (such as imagining contact) (Crisp & Turner, 2009)
3. Increasing knowledge of the outside group (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008)
See also 
- Pettigrew, T. F (1979). "The ultimate attribution error: Extending Allport's cognitive analysis of prejudice". Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 5 (4): 461–476.
- Hewstone, M (1989). Causal attribution: From cognitive processes to collective beliefs. Basil: Blackwell.
- Taylor, D. M; Jaggi (1974). "Ethnocentrism and Causal attribution in a South Indian Context". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 5: 162–171.
- Duncan, B. L (1976). "Differential social perception and attribution if intergroup violence: Testing the lower limits of stereotyping of Blacks". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34 (4): 75–93. doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1240.
- Whitley & Kite, B.E; M/E (2010). The psychology of prejudice and discrimination. Belmont, CA:: Wadsworth.
- Morris, M.W; Peng (1994). "Culture and cause: American and Chinese attributions for social and physical events". Journal of Personality and Social psychology 67 (6): 949.
- Taylor, D.M; Jaggi, V (1974). "Ethnocentrism and Causal attribution in a South Indian Context". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 5: 162–171.
- Buswell, B (2006). "The role of empathy, responsibility, and motivations to respond without prejudice in reducing prejudice.". Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 66 (12-B): 6969.
- Crisp, R.J; Turner, R. N (2009). "Can Imagined Interactions Produce Positive Perceptions?". American Psychologist 64 (4): 231–240. doi:10.1037/a0014718.
- Pettigrew, T.F; Tropp, L. R (2008). "How does intergroup contact reduce prejudice? Meta-analytic tests of three mediators". European Journal of Social Psychology 38 (6): 922–934. doi:10.1002/ejsp.504.