Talk:Fundamental attribution error

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Reckless driver example should be replaced[edit]

It is falsely asserted here that running a red light is not reckless, if you are rushing someone to a hospital emergency room. To the contrary, emergency responders of all kinds (from law enforcement; fire departments; ambulance services) are trained and required by policy to slow or even stop at red traffic signals or stop signs, and not to proceed until it is safe to do so. If they, or anyone else, were to simply run a red light, it would indeed be reckless. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:54, 4 July 2013

Hi, I agree with you! Would you have a better example? Lova Falk talk 08:48, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Bump! I agree, terrible example. No good reason to go through a red light unless their pedal is stuck or brakes fail. ~unsigned — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:55, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Fixed now: focusses on the character and intention vs situation contrast of relevance. Also deleted the redundant second example. Tim bates (talk) 12:00, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Are we missing the natural explanation for FAE?[edit]

(As this is my first substantive suggestion, I may be guilty of introducing a personal opinion - If so please remove it) I was surprised to see no reference to the natural explanation for FAE, ie that the observer is likely to be correct in many (most?) circumstances. In the example of the person running the red light, the observer is presumably using his judgement that in the majority of such cases, the "reckless" assumption will in fact be correct, and that the "situational" explanation will in reality be rare. Our survival has always depended on making snap judgements on the basis of incomplete information. Most of the time we get it right - if we didn't we'd lose the survival race - although sometimes through lack of information (eg knowledge of the surrounding circumstances) we get it wrong. Our so-called "bias" is therefore often a healthy thing - it means that we reach the right decision in the majority of cases, something that enhances our chances of survival.

I am not knowlegable enough on the topic to know if this is a widely held point of view (and therefore ought to be included in the article), or simply my own erroneous analysis (and therefore should be binned). I have no references to offer. Kenny.devon (talk) 20:03, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

   Bias vs error now covered in the "does it occur" and explanations section Tim bates (talk)

Two for one?[edit]

Hi, what is the difference between this subject and , if any? Merge? T (talk) 12:45, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Lede was difficult to understand[edit]

I edited the lede to make it remotely comprehensible. I hope I got it right. It could be much improved. (talk) 10:41, 7 July 2016 (UTC) I agree that it could be more simple - it could just say that people over-estimate dispositional factors in interpreting the behaviour of others. Vorbee (talk) 17:02, 19 October 2017 (UTC) I found the lede still confusing and unclear. The circumlocution ", in contrast to interpretations of their own behavior" leads the reader away from anything that might be considered definitional and introduces a side-topic. The term "(unduly)" doesn't appear to deserve parenthetical status. (talk) 09:33, 12 September 2018 (UTC)


By my reading, Malle's meta-analysis doesn't actually relate to the fundamental attribution error, but rather to actor-observer asymmetry. To quote from the paper:

"A final caveat is that the actor–observer hypothesis should be distinguished from the so-called correspondence bias (Gilbert & Malone, 1995; Jones, 1976), also labeled the fundamental attribution error (FAE; L. Ross, 1977). The latter normally refers to the claim that people are prone to infer stable traits from behaviors, even from single behaviors and even when external pressures or incentives operating on the behavior are made clear." (Malle, 2006, p. 896)

Malle also discusses the distinction between the two toward the end of the paper; clearly, he is of the opinion that they are not synonymous. To that end, two questions: 1. Is Malle's meta-analysis really relevant to this page? 2. Is this entry on the fundamental attribution error a mischaracterisation of the phenomenon (a fundamental attribution error error, one might say)?

(I have never edited Wikipedia or contributed to a talk page before, so apologies if I am not following protocol in some way here.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:11, 16 October 2018 (UTC)