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  • Actor-observer bias

    Actor-observer bias is a cognitive bias that influences how individuals interpret and explain behavior, both their own and that of others. It involves a tendency to attribute one's own behavior to external circumstances or situational factors, while attributing the behavior of others to internal or dispositional factors. When people act, they often consider the context and external influences that may have contributed to their actions. However, when observing someone else's behavior, the focus tends to shift towards personal characteristics and traits.

    For example, if someone arrives late to a meeting, they may attribute it to external factors such as traffic or a prior commitment that delayed them. However, if another person arrives late, the observer may perceive it as a reflection of the individual's lack of punctuality or irresponsibility. This bias can lead to misunderstandings, as individuals may not fully appreciate the situational factors that influence others' actions.

    In the context of online communities, actor-observer bias can shape the way members perceive and interpret each other's behavior. When a person posts a controversial opinion or engages in an argument, they may attribute their own behavior to the specific context, their emotions at the time, or external factors that influenced their perspective. However, other community members who observe this behavior might be more inclined to attribute it to the person's inherent personality traits or their intentions. This bias can contribute to conflicts and misunderstandings within the community, highlighting the importance of recognizing and considering the influence of situational factors on behavior in online interactions.

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