When my wife can’t find her keys, I assume it is because she is careless. When I can’t find my keys I naturally put it down to bad luck. The curious thing is that she always assumes the opposite – that she’s the one with the bad luck, and I’m the careless one.
When we observe other people we attribute their behaviour to their character rather than to their situation – my wife’s carelessness means she loses her keys, your clumsiness means you trip over, his political opinions mean that he got into an argument.
When we think about things that happen to us the opposite holds. We downplay our own dispositions and emphasise the role of the situation. Bad luck leads to lost keys, a hidden bump causes trips, or a late train results in an unsuccessful job interview – it’s never anything to do with us.
This pattern is so common that psychologists have called it the fundamental attribution error. -Tom Stafford
Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene or poem where the conflict is created by fundamental attribution error.
Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you found yourself making a fundamental attribution error.
Art Prompt: Fundamental Attribution Error
Photo Credit: lisatozzi on Flickr
Welcome to the Writing ReaderI believe that the most important thing about writing is to HAVE FUN! You can worry about things like commas, point of view, tenses, etc., later. Right now, just start writing!
The Writing Reader Facebook Group
The Writing Reader on Pinterest
Search the Writing Reader
Link to the Writing Reader
Graphic courtesy of rodgerspix
Tag Cloudanimals anxiety art prompt behavior belief brain character character sketch children Chrys Fey communication complications conflict consequences culture decisions description dysfunction emotions Eula McLeod fear first line Gabriela Pereira human nature internal monologue io9 journaling prompt Live Write Thrive Liz Andra Shaw neurosis psychology quirks relationships religion risk scene spam of the week speechwriting prompt superstition surprise survival visual prompt word of the day Writing Excuses writing prompt