|At this distance, you can hardly see me by that wooden piling.|
While yes, I could be wrong. It *is* possible that it's just insufficient knowledge, I have a feeling that it isn't the case.
You see, the more detrimental the actions are to the character in question, the more likely that character's player will misinterpret the action and consider it to be a failing on the part of the character. The negative interaction seems to cloud the player's empathy and ability to consider the motivating forces behind certain behaviour, *especially* if such motivating forces are actually due to that player's character's actions.
This matches what has been found in psychology. People tend to attribute negative actions performed by other people to be fundamental parts of those other people's psychology while they consider any foolish actions they take to also be the result of external forces (generally other people).
While players can be quite capable of interpreting fictional actions without this bias, generally, and while a conversation which encourages them to put themselves in the other character's shoes ("What do you think might have caused them to act like that? How did it benefit them? How might the situation beforehand affected them?") tends to re-activate that empathy and allow them to better interpret those actions, *unless* the player is forced to do so (or is in the habit of that kind of detached introspection), they tend to carry the same assumptions as their character.
Now obviously this doesn't happen all the time in all cases. It also likely occurs less to players who don't put themselves in their character's shoes so firmly but it is something I have noticed. Since I rarely play and most often GM, I haven't been told whether I do the same but I imagine that I do.
What's the point in an article on this?
Partly to talk about an observation and partly because it means that the GM may sometimes need to step in and encourage a detached introspective position in a player who is having difficulty accepting an NPC or PC's negative actions - thinking them arbitrary and mean.