Fundamental Attribution Error MPHSAP

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Information about Fundamental Attribution Error MPHSAP

Published on February 6, 2014

Author: ikerns



Medieval application of social psychology

What is it?  The tendency to judge a person in an unpleasant situation in a bad light, and attribute her/his behavior to internal causes and qualities rather than understanding the situation or circumstances that may cause the person to behave in that manner

Why we make attributions Knowing why others do what they do helps us predict behavior  Sometimes we attribute behavior to internal factors instead of external factors 

EXAMPLES Pen clicking-annoying. Have you ever thought someone was trying to annoy you when they were just being themselves?  Mrs. Kerns example 

Application to Medieval Hx  Can you think of a time from the lessons when a group of people made internal attributions about another group, causing or exacerbating persecution or conflict?

PROPOGANDA Blood Libel- FAE allowed a great deal of anti-Semitism to occur. Jews in Europe were accused of murdering children and using their blood in rituals.  Portrayals of Jewish people in many forms of Media, painting, prints and songs depicted them as having many unpleasant characteristics 

Most propaganda uses our tendency to make the FAE in order to make an outgroup seem more evil, alien or less human  This can increase ingroup cohesion, which may allow for increased taxation or conscription, or even help one group behave violently toward another  Most racist beliefs are based on some form of FAE 

Examples?  Someone is having trouble starting their car. You decide to help the person by giving her a piece of advice on something they should do to get the car started. The person shoots you down, snaps at you, or just ignores you. You get angry yourself and dismiss the person as a rude, misbehaved individual who does not value the help someone is trying to offer. It is possible that a lot of people have offered the person the same piece of advice that you did and it didn't work; or that the person has already had a rough day and the car getting spoiled was the cherry on the icing. This is another example of a fundamental attribution error.

Racist example? He/She does _______________ because he is ______________  This excludes examination of external factors and simplifies human behavior into simple, predetermined roles niches. 

GROUPTHINK! Would do a group activity, but you are either too nice, too smart or both for that to work, sooooo….  Groupthink is: 

 Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.

In short Groupthink occurs when a group of people become more concerned with maintaining consensus and harmony than reaching a good decision.  Some examples of groupthink: Bay of Pigs, Rejection of MS windows, Space Shuttle challenger explosion, the decision to hire Mr. Kerns and many, many others. 

Defense?        Decision experts have determined that groupthink may be prevented by adopting some of the following measures: a) The leader should assign the role of critical evaluator to each member b) The leader should avoid stating preferences and expectations at the outset c) Each member of the group should routinely discuss the groups' deliberations with a trusted associate and report back to the group on the associate's reactions d) One or more experts should be invited to each meeting on a staggered basis. The outside experts should be encouraged to challenge views of the members. e) At least one articulate and knowledgeable member should be given the role of devil's advocate (to question assumptions and plans) f) The leader should make sure that a sizeable block of time is set aside to survey warning signals from rivals; leader and group construct alternative scenarios of rivals' intentions.

How does this apply? Big picture- imagine you are a Byzantine Citizen and Theodora is trying to convince you to cut down a defenseless enemy, how might she use FAE, Risky shift or ingroup/outgroup bias or groupthink to get you to do this?  How might you have defended yourself against this? 

Thesis Sentences! Persuasive  Should be a snapshot/preview of your paper  Should be thought provoking  Should be concise, not run on  Single Sentence 

Persuasive aspect A slight challenge to the reader will elicit interest  Be aware of assimilation vs. contrast  Always be able to back yourself up with citable facts  Remember- “While it is easy to lie with statistics, it is even easier to lie without them.” -Fredrick Mostelle 

Practical use Mr. Kerns is making you write about who your favorite history teacher is this year.  Mr. Kerns apparently has no sense whatsoever. 

My Thesis Sentence  “While Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are both great teachers, Mr. Kerns generally goes above and beyond in terms of choosing shirts and apparel which maximize classroom learning potential, making him the better educator.”

 “While Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are both great teachers, Mr. Kerns generally goes above and beyond in terms of choosing shirts and apparel which maximize classroom learning potential, making him the better educator.”  Compare  Contrast  Thesis statement/point of your paper

Your paper  1-2 pages  1 Citation in APA  An example from Medieval History that can be connected to: Risky Shift  Groupthink  Assimilation/Contrast  FAE  Ingroup/Outgroup or Observer Bias 

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