Psych Blog- Week 1!!

Last week, I was getting dinner in Carmichael Dining Hall. As it was my turn to serve myself, there was a long line behind me, and I used the spoon of the second tray of food for the third tray of food, since the woman behind the counter was switching out trays and had taken away the third tray’s serving utensil. Seeing this, she angrily snapped, “You can’t wait for one second? How can you be so impatient?” Taken aback, I muttered a quick “sorry” and left. As I went to pick up utensils and a drink, I thought to myself, “Wow, how rude was she? She must be a really nasty person to freak out over something so insignificant.” But what I did not realize, at the time, was that I was actually committing the fundamental attribution error, which states that people tend to attribute others’ behavior to their personality, as opposed to it being a product of the situation at hand. So, I, rather than considering that maybe this woman had had a rough day and was just unusually grumpy by the time she was working at the dining hall, jumped to the conclusion that this woman was through and through an unkind, crabby person, and decided that that was just how she was, despite seeing her over the next few days being kind and welcoming. My construal of the situation not only greatly over-simplified what had happened, but also was probably, in part, me trying to subconsciously feel better about myself. By putting all of the blame on the woman for snapping at me rather than accepting that I probably should have been more patient, I was distorting the truth of the situation in order to feel better about myself, instead of accepting it for what it actually was.

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