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Psy-101

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By bryanbell
Words 1474
Pages 6
PSY-101-OL
May 2008
1a. Define the fundamental attribution error and explain how it distorts social perception.
The fundamental attribution error is “the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations” (Wikipedia, 2001). People have the tendency to choose the dispositional explanation instead of the situational explanation of and event. For example your boss walks up to you in the morning and says “your fired” most people would say this was caused by the fact your boss does not like you. They would not base it on the fact that they have not been to work on time in two months and have had numerous verbal and written warnings. The fundamental attribution error effects social perception as well. People have an instinct to assign certain characteristics to those they come across. This social perception bias can be observed everywhere in society. It has become instinctive to form expectations of people the first time they are encountered. 1b. Describe the effect of cognitive dissonance on behavior and attitude change. Numerous experiments and studies have shown that cognitive dissonance has the power to change attitudes and behavior. Leon Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory proposes, “people have a fundamental cognitive drive to reduce this dissonance by modifying an existing belief, or rejecting one of the contradictory ideas” (Wikipedia, 2001). Better described as when there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors, something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior. For example, someone who buys an expensive watch but discovers that it does not keep accurate time. Dissonance exists...

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