Wherever you go, you will be observing human behavior, and it is difficult not to make a judgment about people after observing how they behave. You might consider three people on a crowded bus to be kind if you see them give up their seats so a mother can sit down with her two young children. You might consider a grocery store employee to be rude if you asked him where to find the milk and he rolled his eyes and sighed heavily before directing you to its location. These two judgments would be logical—kind in the first case and rude in the second—because that is the type of people they appeared to be.
However, social psychologists are more concerned with the external social conditions that influence behavior. Maybe only one of the people on the bus acted kindly and the other two gave up their seats because they did not want to be perceived as unkind by others on the bus. Perhaps the grocery store employee is usually kind, but he behaved rudely because he has been told to work an extra shift at the last minute and it means he will likely miss a friend’s birthday party. If you attribute someone’s behavior to her or his personality, your judgment may underestimate the social conditions that influenced the behavior. When explaining the causes of someone’s behavior, underestimating or discounting the social situation results in what social psychologists call an attribution error.
For your assignment this week, you will look at a scenario and consider how the cause of a person’s behavior may be explained better by situational influences than one’s personality or internal disposition.
Submit 1–2 pages, not including title page and reference page:
In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or Internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your Assignment. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.