Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias

Cite this

Humans justify their weaknesses or evil actions by blaming external forces beyond their control while embracing their strengths without recognizing the external support they get. This tendency to attribute weak points to third parties and take credit for successes emanates from actor-observer cognitive bias. In the same vein, humans want to appear honest and still benefit from cheating, which leads to cheating only a little to avoid raising suspicions or even developing a guilty conscience.

The actor-observer cognitive bias veils the guilt of dishonest individuals. In other cases, humans fudge their dishonesty to suppress remorse conscience. For instance, a client walks into a grocery shop and spends 285 USD on food. The customer’s change is 15 USD, but the teller erroneously gives the client 25 USD. The shopper pockets the cash and leaves without informing the cashier that they have given the customer more money than they deserved. The client consoles themselves that good fortune is upon them, as they did not have money to buy food until the next payday. However, the customer is a thief since they took some products without paying for them. The actor-observer cognitive bias fudges him to carry the shopping and the excess balance because they have not stolen the supplies and the money – good luck has resolved their pending cash problem.

The actor-observer cognitive bias often leads to rationalizing dishonest choices. In the recent past, Donald J. Trump (the former American president) called upon his political supporters to wage violence across America since the Democrats “stole his election victory.” Trump wanted to destabilize the USA because he could not prove election fraud; his policies prevented his presidency from lasting beyond one term. Although Trump publicly called upon his supporters to “defend” him from being “ousted” from power, he later denied that he incited his loyalists to engage in anarchy across the country.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 3). Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 3). Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias.

Work Cited

"Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias." PsychologyWriting, 3 July 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias'. 3 July.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias." July 3, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias." July 3, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Actor-Observer Cognitive Bias." July 3, 2022.