Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Known for||fundamental attribution error
false consensus effect
false polarization effect
hostile media effect
naïve realism (psychology)
|Influences||Stanley Schachter, Mark Lepper|
|Influenced||cognitive psychology, social psychology|
Lee David Ross (born 1942) is a professor of social psychology at Stanford University. Ross is an influential social psychologist who has studied attribution theory, attributional biases, decision making and conflict resolution, often with longtime collaborator Mark Lepper. Ross is known for his investigations of the fundamental attribution error, and for identifications and analyses of such psychological phenomena as attitude polarization, reactive devaluation, belief perseverance, the false consensus effect, naive realism, and the hostile media effect. Instead of limiting his research to a laboratory, Ross had a wide variety of interest in global issues such as climate change and the legal system.
Ross first coined the term "fundamental attribution error" to describe the finding that people are predisposed towards attributing another person's behavior to individual characteristics and attitudes, even when it is relatively clear that the person's behavior was a result of situational demands (Ross, 1977; note that this effect is identical with the "correspondence bias" identified in Jones & Davis, 1965). With Robert Vallone and Mark Lepper he authored the first study to describe the hostile media effect. He has also collaborated with Richard Nisbett in books on human judgment (Nisbett & Ross, 1980) and the relation between social situations and personality (i.e. "the person and the situation"; Ross & Nisbett, 1991). He is the coauthor (with Richard Nisbett) of the books "Human Inference" and "The Person and Situation" as well as nearly 100 journal articles and book chapters. "The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology" considers the way we make judgements, the way we stress in particular errors and different biases of human behavior. It was one of the most significant books on social inference in 1980.
Professor Ross found a number of provocative phenomena, including "belief perseverance," the "false consensus effect," the "hostile media effect," "reactive devaluation," and "naïve realism," which are in standard textbooks today. Ross prefers to take an experimental approach in his research. He does not like to be limited in his laboratories, but rather, he studies real life scenarios in order to yield valuable information about people's behaviours.
He has also done and applied work related to global warming, social security choices, health care, women in science and the academic challenges faced by minority students. He also participated in public peace processes and "second-track" diplomacy in Northern Ireland, the Caucuses and the Middle East.
His primary interests include Attitudes and Beliefs, Causal Attribution, Intergroup Relations, Judgment and Decision Making, Persuasion, Social Influence, Political Psychology, and Social Cognition 
1994: Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2003: American Psychological Society William James Fellow 2008: Distinguished Scientist Award from Society of Experimental Social Psychological
Lee Ross was interested in many fields of psychology, his primary interests and areas of research include; attitudes and beliefs, causal attribution, inter-group relations, judgment and decision Making, persuasion, social Influence, political psychology, social cognition. His research focuses on biases in decision making, judgement, human inference. More importantly on the motivational, cognitive and perceptual biases that disable people in implementing peace agreements and lead them to misinterpret each other's behaviours which create certain barriers in resolving disputes. The barriers to dispute resolution and to implement peace in his work. Recently (2012) Ross has performed research on conflict and peace proceedings to determine how social psychology can reveal the factors that prevent opposing parties from reaching an agreement. With an interdisciplinary group of researchers, Ross has helped found the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN). Lee Ross early work explored how an individual behaved when confronted with information, he finally found out what happens when people interact with the bias and worldviews. He believes that "Each person has to believe that their view of reality is how it really is, and conflicts arise when people have different views." 
One particular research Ross did on perception was based on the Prisoner's Dilemma game. The Prisoner's Dilemma game consist of two people that have two choices. One is to betray the other person which will have a consequence of 3 months in jail for each person. The other choice is for both of them to cooperate. If only one person chooses to betray, the cooperator must do one year in jail. Ross decided to allow his participants to play this game but the stakes being financials instead of jail time and the name was changed to Community and Wall Street game. The result was that the participants that were told they were playing Community cooperated twice as much as participants that were told they were playing Wall Street game. This meant that our perception determines our response in certain situations. From this experiment Lee D. Ross concluded that "At the most general level, it said that the way in which we respond to a situation depends on how we subjectively perceive it".