The attribution theory has become the important contribution to the explanation of the people’s prejudiced behavior. The theory represents the broad sphere of knowledge in Psychology. The fundamental attribution error and the ultimate attribution error are the branches of the attribution theory. Both concepts describe the roots of the prejudice. However, the former is focused on the explication of our attitude to others and to ourselves, whereas the later describes our judgments about the behavior of people from our group and form the outside groups.
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The fundamental attribution theory is the psychological conception, which explains the prejudice and personal bias. According to the theory, people tend to evaluate their own behavior from the standpoint of the external circumstances and to judge the actions of others from the point of view of their characters and personal traits. For example, we tend to explain our lateness by referring to some external factors, while explain the lateness of others by their lack of organization and responsibility.
The ultimate attribution theory is the psychological conception, which explains the prejudice towards the people, who are not the members of our group. According to the theory, people explain the negative behavior of the outgroup members by taking into account their personalities but judge the roots of the negative behavior of the ingroup members by taking into consideration only the external factors. For example, we tend to blame the environment and not our friends or beloved for the failures but we usually judge the strangers by their characters and do not think about the external conditions, which motivated them to behave in a certain way.
The major similarity of the two theories boils down to the fact that both of them explain the prejudice and personal biases. The major difference between the two is that the fundamental attribution error is the broader term than the ultimate attribution error. It generally describes the people’s attitude towards others and to themselves stating that we explain our own failures by the external circumstances but blame others for their characters. The ultimate attribution theory divides people on the ingroup and outgroup members and explains that people tend to have a prejudice towards the outgroup members.