Fundamental Attribution Error

The fundamental attribution error (FAE) is the tendency we have to judge people’s behavior mostly on personal characteristics while ignoring or downplaying situational factors.

Because of this bias, we tend to believe that others do bad things because they are bad people. We’re inclined to ignore situational factors that might have played a role, which these people likely had little or no control over.


  1. Ethics Unwrapped. “Fundamental Attribution Error.” Accessed February 17, 2021.
  2. The Decision Lab. “Fundamental Attribution Error - Biases & Heuristics.” Accessed February 17, 2021.
  3. McLeod, Saul. “Fundamental Attribution Error.” Simply Psychology, 2018.