Perspective taking reduces the fundamental attribution error


Nic Hooper, Ates Erdogan, Georgia Keen, Katharine Lawton, Louise McHugh


The fundamental attribution error (FAE) refers to the predisposition for people to attribute the behavior of others to dispositional characteristics, rather than situational causes external to the individual. The current study aimed to investigate whether pre-experimental perspective taking (PT) training could reduce the FAE. Participants were randomly assigned to either receive PT training, or to receive no training, before completing a typical attitude attribution task. This task required participants to watch a video clip of an actor reading an essay for or against capital punishment and then to infer the attitude of the actor. Results indicated that participants in the perspective taking condition experienced a significant reduction in the FAE compared to participants in the control condition.

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