This Is Why We Judge Others And Never Blame Ourselves

A worker is perched near the damaged finger of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Why is it that we’re quick to judge others as morally lacking but we go easy on ourselves when we’ve done something wrong?

Scientists think they’ve have figured out why we tend to blame circumstance rather than ourselves when it comes to assessing our own shortcomings.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans showed different areas of the brain process judgement depending on whether it’s ourselves or someone else we’re holding to account, explaining the disparity.

The results on this hard wiring of the brain are published in the journal BMC Neuroscience.

The actor-observer-bias is a well-established pattern where we judge ourselves more kindly, blaming our own behavior on our situation and attributing the behaviour of others to their personality.

Study authors Mihai Avram and Dr James Giordano say the brain shows distinct patterns of activity when making decisions depending upon whether they are about ourselves, or others.

The authors are careful to note that fMRI studies need to be interpreted with caution. But they do say that their results are promising.

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