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Actor/Observer Bias
Aleksandra_6728
#1 Posted : Wednesday, July 14, 2021 12:43:53 AM
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Hello!

I was going through external resources (Khan academy) to review attribution biases and came across definitions of this term that varied from in the class. I just wanted to double check with you:)

My understanding is that the Actor/Observer Bias IS the umbrella term that encompasses tendencies to do both the self-serving bias and fundamental attribution error as an individual. If this is the case, who does the "actor" and "observer" in the name refer to?

Thanks for your help in clarifying,
Aleksandra
INSTR_Vanessa_133
#2 Posted : Tuesday, July 20, 2021 4:28:29 PM
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Hi Aleksandra,

Thank you for your question!

Attributional biases is the umbrella term
that encompasses fundamental attribution error, actor/observer bias, self-serving bias, optimism bias and just-world bias. For the MCAT, you must be able to distinguish these different categories:

- The actor/observer bias is the tendency to assign our own behaviour to a situation.
- Fundamental attribution error is the tendency to assign other's behaviour to their personalities.
- Self-serving bias includes the tendency to attribute our successes to our personalities and our failures to our situations.
- Optimism bias is the tendency to think that bad things happen to others, not to us
- The just world bias is the tendency to think the world is fair.

Essentially, the actor/observer bias is the tendency to blame our own actions on situational factors while assigning dispositional causes to the actions of others. This is essentially a combination of the fundamental attribution error and self-serving bias. We have all the information about our situation. The distinction here is that fundamental attribution error focuses only on other's behaviour and the self serving bias focuses only on our own behaviour whereas the actor/observer bias focuses on both.
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