This begins our 6-part series on cognitive biases to which we are often blind. Our first cognitive bias of the series is called:
Fundamental Attribution Error
We often judge others on their personality or fundamental character, but we judge ourselves on the situation. In most cases, we are much more forgiving of ourselves than we are of others. For example: Sally is late for class because she’s lazy! You are late to class because it was a bad morning.
The extent to which we perceive another individual as more like ourselves, the less likely we are to form a negative impression or opinion of his or her behavior.
In the workplace, we are much more forgiving of our colleagues with whom we have an affinity—a sense of common backgrounds, opinions, ways of thinking, and behaving. For the next few days, try to identify five instances where you inadvertently made a Fundamental Attribution Error, and jot down specific ideas for how to mitigate that type of cognitive bias in your day-to-day interactions.