How to win an argument – Wendy style

One of my guilty pleasures is watching reality TV.


My absolute favourite is Married at First Sight, and Andy and I have many a debate about the pairings. Andy likes to think his psychology is better than mine (he’s not a psychologist); to win an argument, I’ll sometimes throw in a bit of jargon, which guarantees he’ll be making the coffee.

Fundamental attribution error is the one I threw at him this week.

As someone who makes a point of not using jargon or psychobabble, I was quietly pleased with myself. What fundamental attribution error means, is to attribute someone’s behaviour to being part of their personality rather than the context. We can often overemphasise the part that someone’s personality contributes to a situation, and underestimate the power of the situation they’re in.

For anyone who watched the recent MAFS UK, Laura’s getting lots of unfair negativity around the way she treats Arthur. It’s impossible to know what really happens on these shows as the way they are cut makes a huge difference. I think being on the show is incredibly difficult and Laura tries to shield Arthur from any negativity which may appear as though she ‘talks down to him’. This may not be a part of Laura’s personality but more about the context of the show.

Fundamental attribution errors, are of course a big part of reality television, where we would rather think this is a part of someone’s personality than the situation they are in.