Actor–Observer Asymmetries


Social psychologists speak of an observer perspective when someone perceives, thinks about, or makes a judgment about another person, and they speak of the actor perspective when someone thinks or makes a judgment about himself or herself. So if Jared storms out the door and Evelyn wonders why he does that, Evelyn is in the observer perspective and Jared is in the actor perspective. When the actor and the observer arrive at different judgments, we are faced with an actorobserver asymmetry.


Why are actor–observer asymmetries interesting? Actor and observer are the two fundamental perspectives in social cognition: People make judgments either about self or about others; there is no third. So to understand the nature of social cognition, scientists must understand the nature of these two ...

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