On NPR's Morning Edition today, Steve Inskeep and Shankar Vedantam tried to unravel the psychology of compromise. Here's a snippet:
VEDANTAM: ...[I]n the United States we tend to see human behavior as driven by individuals. So psychologists have this term, they call it the fundamental attribution error. And the fundamental attribution error says when I do something, when I look at my own behavior, I tend to see it in context. So I think of myself as being a safe driver, but if I'm driving fast today, it's because I'm running late for an appointment.
But when I look at another person driving quickly, I say this person is a reckless driver, so I see it as being dispositional. And what Conway is suggesting is that Americans may have a tendency to see human behavior as more disposition or driven by the individual as opposed to driven by the context.
INSKEEP: Oh, meaning I understand that I have to make compromises in my own life, but if I see some politician flip-flop or change his views or sign onto something he doesn't totally agree with, that means the politician is craven, he's terrible.
It's well worth 4:30 minutes of your time to listen to the whole story.