Explain how the attribution made by an ‘actor’ would be different from that of an ‘observer’.
Actor observer phenomena refers to the tendency to attribute our own behaviour mainly to situational causes but the behaviour of others mainly to internal (dispositional) cause.
A distinction is found between the attribution that a person makes for actorrole and observer-role.
Person makes attribution for his/her own positive and negative experiences, it is actor role and the attribution made for another person’s positive and negative experience is observer-role.
For example, if we get good marks, we will attribute it to our own ability and hard work (actor-role, internal attribution for a positive experience). If we get bad marks, we will say we were unlucky or test was difficult (actor-role, external attribution for negative experience).
On the other hand, if our classmate gets good marks, we will attribute his/her success to good luck or easy test (observer-role, external attribution for positive experience). If same classmate gets bad marks, we are likely to feel that his/her failure was because of low ability or due to lack of effort (observer-role, internal attribution for a negative experience).
The reason for the difference between the actor and observer roles is that people want to have a nice image of themselves, as compared to others.