Actor observer People account for their own behavior differently from how they account for the behavior of others When observing the behavior of others we tend to attribute their actions to their character or their personality rather than to external fact

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Actor-observer
People account for their own behavior differently from how they account for the behavior
of others. When observing the behavior of others, we tend to attribute their
actions to their character or their personality rather than to external factors. In contrast,
we tend to explain our own behavior in terms of situational factors beyond
our own control rather than attributing it to our own character. One explanation for
this difference is that people are aware of the situational forces affecting them but
not of situational forces affecting other people. Thus when evaluating someone
else’s behavior, we focus on the person rather than the situation.

Professor
So, we encounter this in life all the time, but many of us are unaware that we do this .
. . even psychologists who study it . . . like me. For example, the other day I was at the
store and I was getting in line to buy something. But just before I was actually in line,
some guy comes out of nowhere and cuts right in front of me. Well, I was really annoyed
and thought, “that was rude!” I assumed he was just a selfish, inconsiderate
person when, in fact, I had no idea why he cut in line in front of me or whether he
even realized he was doing it. Maybe he didn’t think I was actually in line yet . . . But
my immediate reaction was to assume he was a selfish or rude person.
OK so a few days after that, I was at the store again. Only this time I was in a real
hurry—I was late for an important meeting—and I was frustrated that everything was
taking so long. And what’s worse, all the check-out lines were long, and it seemed like
everyone was moving so slowly. But then I saw a slightly shorter line! But some
woman with a lot of stuff to buy was walking toward it, so I basically ran to get there
first, before her, and, well, I did. Now I didn’t think of myself as a bad or rude person
for doing this. I had an important meeting to get to—I was in a hurry, so, you know, I
had done nothing wrong.

Question--> Explain how the two examples discussed by the professor illustrate differences in the
ways people explain behavior.

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