This has to do with the different perspectives and motivations we have when we are the person doing the action (actor) versus the one observing others (observer). Observers often see primarily internal causes for the behaviors of others; actors usually see external causes.
If I were George Bush, as an actor I might see my decision to invade Iraq as due to Al Queda's and Saddam's actions against the United States. "I didn't want to invade, but Saddam made me."
Observers, whether Democrat or Republican, see the action as caused by Bush's characteristics. "He's a cowboy who wants to flex his muscle, and is an ideologue" (Democratic view). Or, "He is a good many who is just motivated to defend us from terrorism" (Republican view). In both cases, they see Bush's behavior as due to something internal--his personality or attitudes. In Bush's mind, the main cause is something external--the evilness of Saddam and Al Queda.
The difference between the actor and observer is often do to the perspectives--actors see their environments as prominent; observers see the actor as prominent. Thus, actors see environmental causes; observers see internal causes.
· 1 decade ago