As human beings, we are bound to make or form first impressions, but sometimes we forget that those are supposed to be temporary and just hunches of a person’s wholeness.
We cannot let our prejudices interfere with getting to know a person. Simply because a person was late or clumsy the first time you met does not mean he or she is incapable or irresponsible.
These actions may have stemmed from situational factors rather than a display of one’s character.
Do not let this first or short interaction become a moment of poor judgment and a bad habit of misinterpreting new people.
Fundamental Attribution Error: What Is It?
You cannot exactly pick a person’s behavior or personality within just a day or a minute of interaction. And it doesn’t mean that they have committed a certain action. you can already tell their whole story.
Fundamental Attribution Error happens when you disregard the external factors surrounding a person and form a conclusive cognitive bias on what that individual’s real character is.
In Social Psychology, this phenomenon happens due to people’s predetermined ideals, leading to correspondence bias. For example, in school, when a new kid stays quiet on his first day of school, he is often labeled as a gloomy child or a loner.
That, of course, can just be a hunch because we forgot to consider that it was his first day in a new environment, and he could be shy at that moment, but instead of approaching, we stick with our cognitive biases and assume he likes to be alone.
Do you see now how Fundamental Attribution Error can affect people’s lives? How can judging other people’s behavior becomes a hindrance to connection or even make unintentionally presumptuous?
4 Fundamental Attribution Error Examples
Enjoying social events such as a drinking party is seen as a person being a party goer or a wild personality, but in truth, it can be just a sign of wanting to have fun with the people you’re closed with.
Hearing a person curse can sometimes be interpreted as someone having a rude, vulgar personality, which can easily be just someone who just reached his/her wit’s end.
Parent And Child
A crying child and a parent are usually seen as bad parenting when in reality, it can be for another reason, such as teaching a kid a lesson through positive discipline or simply waiting for the child to calm down on their own.
Being fat or obese is one of the cruelest subjects of Fundamental attribution error because you might think that these people are just out of control in the kitchen or lazy when most of them are going through things like physiological or mental illnesses.
5 Reasons Why It Is Not Good To Commit These Errors
Lose The Chance To Connect
When you do continuously judge people through this minuscule interaction, you lose the chance to get to know them better.
Be Disliked By Others
Focusing on your cognitive bias can sometimes make you presumptuous and disliked by other people.
Hindering Expression of self
People tend to become more closed-off because of these kinds of prejudice. This sometimes leads to people becoming unable to express who they truly our.
Failing To Fix One’s Self
You fail to fix your own behavior when you focus on misjudging others. Instead of figuring out what that person’s problem was, try focusing on your own negative character.
Become A “Ball” Of Prejudice
Your attribution process becomes distorted, making you a bad judge of character and sometimes become a despicable person yourself.
3 Easy Ways To Avoid Fundamental Attribution Error
So if you truly want to stop making assumptions about every person you meet, you have to start somewhere. That’s why here are three ways you can avoid this nasty habit of making uncalled-for presumption ideas about a person.
Read The Surroundings
It is given that we all have ideals, from books, experience, or from what other people say, and those are sometimes the basis of the cognitive biases we make, but besides those, let’s never forget about the other factors that surround us before we haste in forming a conclusion.
Like when in the first days of school and work, when most people get the lay of the land. All eyes are on each other, and everyone is putting labels on each other. Who’s the funny one, the pretty one, the dumb one, and even the creepy one?
Instead of focusing on everyone, try to take in the surroundings and the situation. Try understanding that some of you are shy, some are naturally chatty, and some are overtalking due to nervousness.
Do not form any impression on who yet because take into account that it takes time to truly get to know a person.
Put Yourself On The Other Person’s Shoe
When you are judging a person and putting labels on them, try imagining yourself as that person. How would you have felt if a total stranger or acquaintance were at your back talking, thinking smack, or making assumptions about you?
An awkward feeling, right? So, whenever you have an urge to put labels on a person, think about how you would react if it were you in that certain situation.
Get To Know A Person’s Personality And Situation
The best way to not commit these Fundamental Attribution Errors is to understand what a person is going through.
An angry-looking person can just be having a bad day, so ask him or her about her day. Help solve it if you can, and listen to their worries if you can.
When a person makes mistakes on their first day, walk to them and lend a hand instead of belittling him on your mind or your co-worker. Instruct them and teach them the ropes.
Do not hurry to make conclusions about people; instead, slowly get to know them and what they’re going through, and believe me, yours and as well as others’ lives will be changed by doing so.