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Kendra Cherry

Actor Observer Bias - Psychology Definition of the Week

By December 14, 2012

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actor observer bias

Definition: People sometimes tend to attribute their own actions to external causes, while blaming other people for their own misfortunes. When something bad happens to us or we make a mistake, we often jump to lay the blame on external forces. On the other hand, when something bad happens to another person, we often place the blame on the individual, attributing the events to internal characteristics, behaviors, and personal choices.

Learn more about this tendency, which is known in social psychology as the actor-observer bias.

Image courtesy Piotr Bizior


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