Also called the actor-observor bias, people are more likely to attribute people's behavior to internal (dispositional) causes rather than external (situational) factors.
For example, when we meet a girl who seems cold and distant, we may conclude that she is just a cold and distant person (dispositional conclusion made out of a Fundamental Attribution Error), however, in reality, her behavior is situational (she is nice and friendly sometimes and mean and distant at other times.)
Human behaviors are more noticeable or SALIENT than situational factors, so we tend to focus on the noticeable dispositional factors when judging others and situations.
Tendency to believe that people generally get what they deserve; so we feel that we are in a more controllable world.
Taking credit for our successes and externalizing our failures. When we succeed, we credit our dispositional factors; when we fail, we blame it on external situational factors.
The difference between cultures and attributions
In individualist/Western nations, people are defined and understood as individual selves and are largely responsible for their own successes and failures. These people are more culpable for FAE (Fundamental Attribution Error) and Self-serving bias.
People in collectivist cultures, or community based cultures, are defined and understood as members of their social network. Thus, they are more aware of their situational constraints and are less culpable of the FAE and self-serving bias. Being a successful individual is less emphasized in these Eastern cultures; rather fitting in is more emphasized.
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