Two Errors in Attribution
Key Terms:
Attribution - How people interpret and explain casual relationships in the social world.
Attribution Error - Various ways that people mis use attribution. Examples include FAE, Self-Serving Bias, Spotlight effect etc..

Fundamental Attribution Error - The following video does a great job of explaining what Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) is. One study that provides evidence for FAE was conducted by Jones and Harris (1967). Subjects read pro- and anti- Fidel Castro essays. Subjects were asked to rate the pro-Castro attitudes of the writers. When the subjects believed that the writers freely chose the positions they took (for or against Castro), they naturally rated the people who spoke in favor of Castro as having a more positive attitude towards Castro. However, contradicting Jones and Harris' initial hypothesis, when the subjects were told that the writer's positions were determined by a coin toss, they still rated writers who spoke in favor of Castro as having, on average, a more positive attitude towards Castro than those who spoke against him. In other words, the subjects were unable to see the influence of the situational constraints placed upon the writers; they could not refrain from attributing sincere belief to the writers.
The Spotlight Effect - The Spotlight Effect refers to one's tendency to think that other people are watching them more closely than they actually are. An example of this is when one is in class and trips and falls. They feel as if the entire world saw them, and that everyone is going to laugh. However, what really happened was very few people noticed.
Attribution is how people relate and explain casual relationships in the world. For instance, if one receives a high grade on a test, they may attribute this to their luck or intelligence. Factors that are attributed are either situational or dispositional. Since humans are imperfect creatures, it is only logical that mistakes are made in attribution. Two errors commonly made in attribution are the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), and the Spotlight Effect. FAE has been researched by Jones and Harris (1967) and occurs when either situational or dispositional factors are attributed disproportionately. The spotlight effect is when one believes that their characteristics and actions are more noticed by others than they actually are. Kenneth Savitsky has done much research on this.