Psychology # 62 : Fundamental Attribution Error

This typical cognitive bias can be found in many abuse-victim relationships, or even how public perceive about victims.


e.g.  if an victim was abused or raped, people will judge it’s because this girl / woman’s behavior is incorrect, seduce or being a sl*t or what and that’s why she was abused.


People tend not to consider external influence, such as the environment, security issues or even the behavior of abusers.


What do you think?  Have you ever make a simple judgment on someone’s behavior quickly, instead of thinking about other circumstances?




Looks matter more than personality?

Beauty may get the attention, but personality will capture the heart.

Can’t deny the ugly truth that people tend to judge or give 1st impression to a person based on their looks / appearances.  I used to believe strongly that as long as I have a good characters, traits or moral standard, who cares how I look or what I dress? Thought those who only focus on my outer appearance are simply not my companions, I don’t care.

This stubborn assumptions put me into troubles frequently, e.g. I was humiliated, bullied and demean.  Toxic people spot me as a easy target for sarcastic judgments / critics, now I understand abusers have talents to identity people who are insecure, shame on themselves.  This until I finally awake from my long-time emotional wounds, strive to get back on track -lost lots of weight, dress nicely, change posture and body language.  I was astonished by how people treat  me so differently – with much more respects and take me more seriously.  This dramatic change of experience alter my thoughts on the importance of appearance.

Experiment – Remove the Labels (Coca-Cola)

6 strangers were placed to sit and chit chat few minutes in a total dark room.

They’re unable to judge each other according to each other’s clothing style, posture or looks.  Then lights on …….

Understand there still have many advocates emphasize “there’s nothing to do with how we look”.  I admire their courage / persistence.  Unfortunately, social norms exists and lead us to judge others upon their looks consciously and unconsciously.

However, I found people react to beauty into two quite clear-cut / extreme ways :

Ignore beauty

“Dating in the dark” is an interesting experimental TV series that attracted my attention.

Same to most people, these contestants proclaim they don’t care appearance but only searching for true love / soul-mate, a person who owns good personality, moral standards, or who can share interests and talk to, etc.  They believe dating someone without seeing their faces can help them to find the non-fake person.

I felt happy / sorry to watch their responses – when finally each participant can see other’s face when lights on.  Many of them looks so sad / disappointed / annoyed, packed luggage and left without saying goodbye to a person who spent sweet moments together earlier ago.  All lovely words / promises / fantasizes were gone.

Metaphor of the show : No matter how resistant you are, reality experiments proved that appearance / looks do matter.  Not saying everyone need to be born like a superstars / models, or suggesting cosmetic surgeries etc.  But it’s wise to improve your appearance as much as possible. There’s always something can be done, e.g. lose some weight, change hair style or try new clothes, learn to pose / stand with confidence etc.

Over-concern beauty

Another TV show “Love, Lust or run” showing how others see us can be very different from how we see ourselves. Obviously each participant love attention so wearing lots of make up, exaggerate accessories and crazy outfits.

They sure understand how important of their looks so assuming the more (or less) they put on bodies,  the more will be loved.  Surprisingly, many of them are actually look far more prettier when they removed all these things.  Their skins more refresh and look 10+ years younger.  They consider their dressing styles show up their beauty, but after interviewing passer-bys at street randomly, their looks were always scored as “run” or “lust”.  Participants were shocked, disappointed because it’s out of their expectations, this proved we may sometimes unable to view ourselves objectively.

Inner Beauty still wins over time

Today, I understand more the theory of “no one will care / love you if you don’t take care and love yourself first”.

Showing people how much you respect yourself can demonstrated by your appearance at certain level.  But at the same time, we better work on our inner beauty too.  No matter how beautiful you are, as soon as people get closer to you and discover you’re just another mean / harsh / rude bitch, then fantasy will be vanished immediately.

I used to work in fashion / design industries, where pretty women / guys are found every corner easily.  Of course when I met a gorgeous people I’ll adore them like normal fellows, but after a period of time, we’ll get used to biological response to that person’s beauty so the score of their beauty will be declined gradually.  Now we’ll start to pay more attention to that person’s other inner qualities.  What is his / her passion? How he / she treat others?

Many times I was impressed by someone’s beauty, but after spending a period of time and we understand each other more, I was annoyed / disgusted by how they speak / behave.  Other times I found someone who’s not attractive but later I was amazed / hugely attracted by their personalities, moral qualities etc.

Pretty faces may attract more attention at the beginning because this make people fresh / excited, but eventually if  they are found impossible to share / hang around, people will feel they are annoying, boring so decide to leave.

Closing thoughts

Beauty is kind of a social tool that can either destroy one’s life, or if we make good use of it,  can enhance / richer our life experiences / fulfillment.  It’s a wisdom to keep a healthy balance in between.  How much is too much or too little?

Though I’m getting more alert to great influence of appearance, but I still suggest inner quality is the most timeless and limitlessness treasure in life, because at the end of the day ……

An ugly personality destroy a pretty face.

So how do you think or feel about beauty?  How you define true beauty ?

Photo credit : Pixabay – Jeshoot