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actor-observer difference

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An attributional bias tending to cause people to attribute their own actions to situational factors and observers to attribute those same actions to internal personality dispositions. It is explained partly by the greater amount of information available to actors than observers, partly by differences between actors and observers in perceptual focus, and partly by motivational factors that might induce actors to emphasize external causes and observers internal causes. The phenomenon was first reported in 1972 by the US psychologists Edward Ellsworth Jones (1926–93) and Richard E. Nisbett (born 1941). See also attribution, attribution theory.

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