Scientific Way to judge a person in the correct way

Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who are you. picture quote

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Judging Quotes

Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who are you.

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Judging a person does not define who they are Quote Meaning

Our attitude to judge others does not really reflect what the other person is. The quality of your judgment depends on the techniques you use to attribute a person’s characteristics or personality traits. Find out what science says about the way to judge a person correctly.

Main Topic: Judgement Quotes

Related Topics: Person, Define, Who are you

Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who are you.

Author: Unknown

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Correct Way to Judge a person

Judging a person is considered to be three stage process. The process of understanding someone’s behavior is called as attribution in Psychology domain. To judge a person correctly, following is advocated

  1. Observe the behavior of an individual.
  2. Determine whether the behavior is deliberate which means that the person behaved intentionally.
  3. Find out whether the cause for the behavior is internal or external. Internal causes are attributed to the personality traits of the person being observed whereas the external causes are attributed to factors from the environment or other people.

Kelley’s (1967) developed a logical model called covariation model for judging whether a particular behavior should be attributed to some personality trait (internal) of the person or external environment.

Some of the internal factors are person’s effort or his ability in performing the task or behavior. Luck or difficulty of the task is considered to be the external causes of the outcome of the task or behavior. When observing the behavior, you need to make a judgment on which of these factors influenced the behavior most.  However, when determining between internal and external causes of observed behavior, you must examine on three dimensions namely consensus, consistency and distinctiveness.


When a person behaves the same way under the same set of circumstances, then the behavior is set to be consistent. The consistency is said to be high if the person exhibits the same behavior again. If he behaves differently sometimes, then the consistency is said to be low.


This is determined by observing whether the person acts in the same way under similar situations. The distinctiveness is said to be low if the person exhibits the same behavior in different contexts. If he exhibits different behavior depending on the circumstances, then the distinctiveness is said to be high. If person A smokes only when we go out with his friend person -B, then distinctiveness is said to be high. If he smokes with any friend, then distinctiveness is said to be low.


The consensus is the extent to which people behave in the same way in a similar situation. This is about the general behavior of the common public. We are trying to find whether it is a common behavior or something very specific to this person. If it is specific to the person, the consensus is said to be low and generic behavior then the consensus is said to be high. E.g.  Person-A smokes a cigarette with his friend, Person-B after a meal.  If person-B also smokes, then the person-A behavior is high in consensus. If person-A alone smokes, the consensus is low.

Consensus, Consistency, and distinctiveness should be evaluated on each and every internal and external factors before judgment is made about the behavior. When consensus, consistency, and distinctiveness, are all high, we can conclude that there is an external factor involved in determining the behavior. When distinctiveness and consensus are low, but the consistency is high, the behavior is attributed to internal factors or personality traits.

When we are busy, we tend to make mistakes with our attributions. However with practice corrections are made, and the attributions improve. When behavior is determined by internal causes, consensus and distinctiveness are low, but consistency is high. In contrast, when external causes determine the behavior, consensus, consistency and distinctiveness are all high. Behavior is attributed to a combination of these factors when consensus is low, but consistency and distinctiveness are high.

One possible attribution is that the mother has a bad temper and is a poor parent. Then, we learned that the child was screamed at because he ran out onto a heavy traffic street. So, we realize there are two possible causes for the mother’s behavior and temper because the child’s action is dangerous. This is known as discounting principle. There is a reduction in the attribution made about the mother because another potential danger as a cause also exists.

A second scene is when the mother yells at the child when a grandparent is present. The presence of the grandparent is expected to soften the screaming at the child. It is expected that the child would be spoken to calmly and reasonably. Here, the attribution of scolding is attributed to the augmenting principle which states that when the inhibition factor (grandmother) and the facilitating factor(angry outburst from the mother) are both present, the facilitating factor gets to dominate. So, the attribution is made about the foul temper of the mother.

These two principles such as discounting factor and augmenting factor, need to be taken into account while carrying out attributions, especially in situations where information about consistency and distinctiveness is not clearly available.


Kelley, H (1967). Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, University of Nebraska Press. Attribution theory in social psychology.

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