What is the difference between correspondence bias and fundamental attribution error?

Correspondence bias and fundamental attribution error were often seen as interchangeable in the past. However, researchers have recently proposed that there is a subtle difference between the two.

  • Correspondence bias refers to the fact that behavior is often viewed as a reflection of a person’s character. In other words, we believe that a person’s behavior reflects stable internal qualities, even though it was actually caused by the situation.
    The fundamental attribution error refers to the idea that people fundamentally ignore or underestimate situational influences on others’ behavior.
  • Although people often commit the fundamental attribution error, they do not necessarily fall for correspondence bias at the same time. Only when we take the fundamental attribution error one step further and judge a person’s character from their actions do we display correspondence bias.