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Attribution Biases

Attribution refers to the way in which people explain their own behavior and that of others. An attribution bias occurs when someone systematically over- or underuses the available information when explaining behavior. There is evidence that when we are making judgments about the behavior of our own group (the ingroup) and that of other groups (outgroups), we show attributional biases that favor the ingroup. Specifically, where ingroup members are concerned, we explain positive behaviors in terms of internal characteristics (e.g., personality) and negative behaviors in terms of external factors (e.g., illness). Conversely, where outgroup members are concerned, we explain positive behaviors in terms of external characteristics and negative behaviors in terms of internal characteristics. The study of attribution biases is an essential aspect of group ...

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