fundamental attribution error

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pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fixed income, fundamental attribution error, Garrett Hardin, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Shai Danziger, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tragedy of the Commons, William of Occam, Zipcar

The failure to recognize the importance of contexts and situations and the consequent overestimation of the role of personal dispositions is, I believe, the most pervasive and consequential inferential mistake we make. The social psychologist Lee Ross has labeled this the fundamental attribution error. As it happens, there are big cultural differences in propensity to make this error. This fact offers the hope that people in more susceptible cultures may be able to overcome the error to some degree. The Fundamental Attribution Error Bill Gates is the richest person in the world. At the ripe old age of nineteen, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, and in a few short years he made it the most profitable corporation in the world.

As the communications theorist Robert Logan has written, the Greeks were enslaved to the rigid linearity of their either/or logic.11 The Greek insistence on an unchanging or highly stable world echoes down through the centuries. The extreme Western insistence on attributing human behavior to a person’s enduring dispositions rather than to situational factors—the fundamental attribution error—is directly traceable to Greek metaphysics. One of the clearest examples of the damage done by the fundamental attribution error has to do with Western (mis)understanding of some important influences on intelligence and academic achievement. I began to have trouble with math in the fifth grade. My parents assured me that was to be expected: Nisbetts had never been much good at math.

People’s dispositions, on the other hand—their distinctive traits, attitudes, abilities, and tastes—are much less influential than we assume. So we make mistakes in assessing why it is that people—including ourselves—believe particular things and behave in particular ways. But it’s possible to overcome this “fundamental attribution error” to a degree. Finally, psychologists have increasingly come to recognize the importance of the unconscious mind, which registers vastly more environmental information than the conscious mind could possibly notice. Many of the most important influences on our perceptions and behavior are hidden from us.


pages: 307 words: 94,069

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Atul Gawande, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate social responsibility, en.wikipedia.org, fundamental attribution error, impulse control, Libby Zion, longitudinal study, medical residency, Piper Alpha, placebo effect, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

In a famous article, Stanford psychologist Lee Ross surveyed dozens of studies in psychology and noted that people have a systematic tendency to ignore the situational forces that shape other people’s behavior. He called this deep-rooted tendency the “Fundamental Attribution Error.” The error lies in our inclination to attribute people’s behavior to the way they are rather than to the situation they are in. The Fundamental Attribution Error complicates human relationships. Marriage therapist Michele Weiner-Davis said, “Most people attribute their marital problems to some deeply engrained personality characteristics of their spouse.” A wife might say, “My husband is a stubborn person.”

Edwards Deming. See Deming (1982), Out of the Crisis. Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study. The fires story is on p. 325. Fundamental Attribution Error. See Lee Ross (1977), “The Intuitive Psychologist and His Shortcomings: Distortions in the Attribution Process,” in L. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (vol. 10), New York: Academic Press. Echoes of the Fundamental Attribution Error are found in the conventional wisdom of many fields. Marketers talk about finding the right psychographic for a consumer good. Health psychologists talk about the importance of targeting people who are “ready” to stop smoking.

The stubbornness emerges mainly when you suggest a new approach with the kids at home—and when you do that, he is stubborn almost every time. It’s the situation, not an immutable stubbornness built into his character, that produces the behavior.” (This doesn’t excuse his stubbornness, of course, but it should provide hope for a solution, since situations should be easier to tweak than people’s core character.) The Fundamental Attribution Error is the reason why we love TV shows like The Dog Whisperer or Supernanny, in which seemingly irredeemable dogs and kids are tamed by outsiders who come in with a new system of discipline. At the beginning of the episodes, we’re presented with a dog that bites everything in sight, or a child who won’t obey the simplest of commands, and we simply can’t avoid jumping to conclusions about their character: That dog is vicious.


pages: 236 words: 66,081

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, Dean Kamen, experimental economics, experimental subject, fundamental attribution error, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Kevin Kelly, means of production, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, social software, Steve Ballmer, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, the strength of weak ties, Tragedy of the Commons, ultimatum game, Yochai Benkler

You’d think this transformation would have broken people of their faith in such generalizations, but the desire to attribute people’s behavior to innate character rather than to local context runs deep. It runs so deep, in fact, that psychologists have a name for it: the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error is at work when we explain our own behavior in terms of the constraints on us (“I didn’t stop to help the stranded driver because I was late for work”) but attribute the same behavior in others to their character (“He didn’t stop to help the stranded driver because he’s selfish”). Similarly, we fell into the fundamental attribution error when we thought Gen Xers weren’t working hard because they were lazy. Theories of generational difference make sense if they are expressed as theories of environmental difference rather than of psychological difference.

Theories of generational difference make sense if they are expressed as theories of environmental difference rather than of psychological difference. People, especially young people, will respond to incentives because they have much to gain and little to lose from experimentation. To understand why people are spending so much time and energy exploring new forms of connection, you have to overcome the fundamental attribution error and extend to other people the set of explanations that you use to describe your own behavior: you respond to new opportunities, and so does everybody else, and these changes feed on one another, amplifying some kinds of behavior and damping others. People in my generation and older often tut-tut about young people’s disclosing so much of their lives on social networks like Facebook, contrasting that behavior with our own relative virtue in that regard: “You exhibitionists!

This comparison conveniently ignores the fact that we didn’t behave that way because no one offered us the opportunity (and from what I remember of my twenties, I think we would have happily behaved that way if we’d had the chance). The generational explanations of Napster’s success fall apart because of the fundamental attribution error. The recording industry made that error when it became convinced that young people were willing to share because their generation was morally inferior (a complaint with obvious conceptual appeal to the elders). This thesis never made sense. If young people had become generally lawless, we’d expect to see a rise not just in sharing music but also in shoplifting and other forms of theft.


pages: 184 words: 46,395

The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy by Richard Shotton

active measures, call centre, cashless society, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Firefox, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, Google Chrome, Kickstarter, loss aversion, nudge unit, placebo effect, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, Ralph Waldo Emerson, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rory Sutherland, Veblen good, When a measure becomes a target, World Values Survey

No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person or corporate body acting or refraining to act as a result of reading material in this book can be accepted by the Publisher, by the Author, or by the employers of the Author. Contentsx Praise for The Choice Factory Preface Introduction Bias 1: The Fundamental Attribution Error Bias 2: Social Proof Bias 3: Negative Social Proof Bias 4: Distinctiveness Bias 5: Habit Bias 6: The Pain of Payment Bias 7: The Danger of Claimed Data Bias 8: Mood Bias 9: Price Relativity Bias 10: Primacy Effect Bias 11: Expectancy Theory Bias 12: Confirmation Bias Bias 13: Overconfidence Bias 14: Wishful Seeing Bias 15: Media Context Bias 16: The Curse of Knowledge Bias 17: Goodhart’s Law Bias 18: The Pratfall Effect Bias 19: Winner’s Curse Bias 20: The Power of the Group Bias 21: Veblen Goods Bias 22: The Replicability Crisis Bias 23: Variability Bias 24: Cocktail Party Effect Bias 25: Scarcity Ethics Conclusion References Further reading Acknowledgements Index Praise for The Choice Factory “This book is a Haynes Manual for understanding consumer behaviour.

Yet, when we watch how consumers actually behave, it’s apparent that we are affected by such nuances. While ignoring behavioural science is bad news for the industry it is good news for you. It means that if you apply the findings then you’ll have a competitive advantage. Let’s turn to some of those lessons now. Bias 1: The Fundamental Attribution Error Why brands need target contexts as much as target audiences You slam your front door closed and trudge towards your car, which owing to a lack of off-street parking is a hundred yards away. In between you and the car is a beggar, slumped in a doorway. A stream of busy commuters walks past him without stopping.

You watch as a man, dressed in a pinstripe suit, picks up his pace, averts his gaze and strides past the vagrant. Good god – people are so selfish today, you think. You root around in your pocket for some change to donate. There’s only a fiver so you pick up your pace and avert your gaze. Your assumption about the selfishness of the businessman is an example of the fundamental attribution error. That’s the tendency to overestimate the importance of personality, and underestimate that of context, when explaining behaviour. You judged the businessman’s actions with reference to his personality rather than fleeting factors like his mood, busy-ness or mindset. This mistake is widespread and has important implications for how we think about targeting our communications.


pages: 256 words: 60,620

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition by Michael J. Mauboussin

affirmative action, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, butter production in bangladesh, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Edward Thorp, experimental economics, financial innovation, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, meta-analysis, money market fund, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, Performance of Mutual Funds in the Period, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, presumed consent, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game

Researchers have done the Asch experiment over a hundred times in nearly twenty countries and have found similar conformity levels across geographies. Of course, conformity is also at the core of the diversity breakdowns that lead to unhealthy crowd behavior. Lee Ross, a social psychologist at Stanford University, coined the term “fundamental attribution error” to describe the tendency to explain behavior based on an individual’s disposition versus the situation. We naturally associate bad behavior with poor character, except when we assess our own behavior. We more readily explain our own poor behavior as a reflection of the social circumstances.8 Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of situational power is that it can work for evil as well as for good.

They found that the Western press focused largely on the flaws and problems of the perpetrators (“very bad temper,” “mentally unstable”), while the Eastern press emphasized the relationships and social context (“did not get along with his adviser,” “influenced by the example of a recent mass slaying in Texas”). Follow-up queries of American and Chinese college students yielded identical perceptions. While all people are susceptible to the fundamental attribution error to some degree, the propensity is clearly different between Eastern and Western cultures.10 Some Wine with Your Music? Imagine strolling down the supermarket aisle and coming upon a display of French and German wines, roughly matched for price and quality. You do some quick comparisons, place a German wine in your cart, and continue shopping.

Jerry Burger, a psychologist at Santa Clara University, recently completed a modified version of the experiment with results similar to those of Milgram nearly a half-century earlier.23 Milgram’s experiment draws out this chapter’s final mistake: explaining behavior by focusing on people’s dispositions, rather than considering the situation. This is a restatement of the fundamental attribution error. The vital point is that the situation is generally much more powerful than most people—especially Westerners—acknowledge. The combination of the sense of group and the setting lays the groundwork for behavior that can deviate substantially from the norm. Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist at Stanford University, did an experiment in 1971 that ranks with Asch and Milgram in exhibiting the power of the situation.


pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, shared worldview, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(7), 485–494, p. 485. the cognitive illusion of the fundamental The fundamental attribution error has received lots of critiques, including that social, and not just inferential processes are at work, see, e.g. Gawronski, B. (2004). Theory-based bias correction in dispositional inference: The fundamental attribution error is dead, long live the correspondence bias. European Review of Social Psychology, 15(1), 183–217. and also, it may be unique to Western culture, reflecting an individualist bias: Clarke, S. (2006). Appealing to the fundamental attribution error: Was it all a big mistake? In D. Coady (Ed.), Conspiracy theories: The philosophical debate (pp. 130–140).

There have been dozens of demonstrations of people making incorrect predictions, overweighting the influence of traits and undervaluing the power of the situation when attempting to explain people’s behavior. This cognitive illusion is so powerful it has a name: the fundamental attribution error. An additional part of the fundamental attribution error is that we fail to appreciate that the roles people are forced to play in certain situations constrain their behavior. In a clever demonstration of this, Lee Ross and his colleagues staged a mock game show at Stanford. Ross plucked a handful of students from his classroom and randomly assigned half of them to be Questioners and half to be Contestants in a trivia game.

No right-minded Questioner would ask a question that he didn’t already know the answer to, and because he was encouraged to generate difficult and obscure questions, it was unlikely the Contestant would know many of the answers. Not only was the game rigged, but so were the mental reactions of the participants—indeed, the mental responses of all of us. We succumb to the cognitive illusion of the fundamental attribution error regularly. Knowing that it exists can help us to overcome it. Suppose you’re walking down the halls of your office and pass a new coworker, Kevin. You say hello and he doesn’t respond. You could attribute his behavior to a stable personality trait and conclude that he is shy or that he is rude.


pages: 284 words: 72,406

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland, Jj Sutherland

Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business cycle, call centre, clean water, death of newspapers, fundamental attribution error, knowledge worker, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, pets.com, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System

But I’d also be willing to bet that when you’re blaming someone, you’re finding fault with them personally, while if you are being blamed, you’re much more aware of the situational factors that led to the problem and why you acted the way you did. And you know what? When you’re talking about yourself, you’re absolutely right. When talking about others, though, you’re making one of the most common—and destructive—human errors in judging other people’s actions. It even has a name: “Fundamental Attribution Error.” Some fascinating studies related to this are laid out in the book Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery, by John H. Holland et al. One paper cited in the book was published in the early 1970s, so this isn’t new. This is old stuff that has been reproduced over and over and over again.

As they made their way across the school grounds, each seminarian passed someone moaning for help in a doorway. How many of the people who were told they had to hurry stopped to help? Ten percent. Of seminarians. Yet people want to blame individuals, not systems. It just feels better. The Fundamental Attribution Error appeals to our sense of justice. If we can blame someone else, we insulate ourselves from the possibility that we’d do the same thing—that we’re just as likely to press that button as anyone else, given the right circumstances. How does this error of blaming individuals rather than systems manifest in business?

That’s why I implemented the Happiness Metric in my company. It helps the team help its members become better people. It removes the causes of unhappiness systematically, carefully, and incrementally. It empowers people to change themselves and attaches an incentive to doing so. Remember the Fundamental Attribution Error? When you’re surrounded by assholes, don’t look for bad people; look for bad systems that reward them for acting that way. Then you use the Happiness Metric to fix it. In high school or college many of us studied the American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.” It laid out, in pyramid form, the needs that humans take care of first and then those that become more pressing as lower ones are satisfied.


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, sunk-cost fallacy, survivorship bias, The future is already here, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, When a measure becomes a target, wikimedia commons

So the next time you send a message and all you get back is OK, consider that the writer is in a rush or otherwise occupied (the more likely interpretation) instead of coming from a place of dismissiveness. The third story, most respectful interpretation, and Hanlon’s razor are all attempts to overcome what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error, where you frequently make errors by attributing others’ behaviors to their internal, or fundamental, motivations rather than external factors. You are guilty of the fundamental attribution error whenever you think someone was mean because she is mean rather than thinking she was just having a bad day. You of course tend to view your own behavior in the opposite way, which is called self-serving bias.

People can also exhibit learned helplessness in everyday circumstances, believing they are incapable of doing or learning certain things, such as public speaking or using new technologies. In each of these cases, though, they are probably capable of improving their area of weakness if guided by the right mentor, a topic we cover in more detail later in Chapter 8. You don’t want to make a fundamental attribution error by assuming that your colleague is incapable of doing something when they really just need the proper guidance. All the mental models in this section—from the third story to learned helplessness—can help you increase your empathy. When applying them, you are effectively trying to understand people’s actual circumstances and motivations better, trying as best you can to walk a mile in their shoes.

KEY TAKEAWAYS To avoid mental traps, you must think more objectively. Try arguing from first principles, getting to root causes, and seeking out the third story. Realize that your intuitive interpretations of the world can often be wrong due to availability bias, fundamental attribution error, optimistic probability bias, and other related mental models that explain common errors in thinking. Use Ockham’s razor and Hanlon’s razor to begin investigating the simplest objective explanations. Then test your theories by de-risking your assumptions, avoiding premature optimization.


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Bear Stearns, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

There is indeed evidence that some of us may be better at some aspects of assessing information than others. Studies have shown that men are more likely than women to exhibit confirmation bias—seeking out or putting more weight on information that confirms a preexisting belief. People from Western cultures are more prone than people from Asian cultures to the fundamental attribution error—believing that others’ performance and behavior derive from their personalities and temperaments rather than from the larger culture or environment. But these relative disadvantages only seem to assert themselves with respect to a single bias. There is also no direct relationship between intelligence and cognitive biases.

See also Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011); on how Kahneman and Tversky achieved their breakthrough insights, see Michael Lewis, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (New York: W. W. Norton, 2016). confirmation bias: Yoram Bar-Tal and Maria Jarymowicz, “The Effect of Gender on Cognitive Structuring: Who Are More Biased, Men or Women?” Psychology 1, no. 2 (January 2010), 80–87, http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=2096. fundamental attribution error: Incheol Choi and Richard E. Nisbett, “Situational Salience and Cultural Differences in the Correspondence Bias and Actor-Observer Bias,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 24, no. 9 (September 1998), 949–960, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167298249003; Minas N.

See Great Recession/financial crisis financial intermediaries, 12, 146–156 choice expansion in, 215–216 payment solutions and, 146–147 regulations affecting, 139–140 traditional role of, 138–139 See also banks Finkel, Eli, 83, 84 Finland, 147, 191 fintechs, 11 banks investing in, 149–156 niche markets targeted by, 147, 152 worldwide investments in, 149 firms, 87–107, 109–131 Amazon as, 88–89, 106 automation in, 109, 111–112, 113–120, 128, 130–131 centralization in (see centralization) cognitive constraints and, 102–104 communicative coordination and, 26, 28–33, 90, 102 comparison of markets and, 28, 111 competition between markets and, 30, 107 decline in influence of, 12–13, 33 delegation in, 97–101, 106, 117 efficiency as focus of, 112–113 estimated number of, 28 human-centric, 214–215 internal talent management in, 126–129 intuition and heuristics in, 104–106 key difference between markets and, 32–33, 90 “noise” reduction strategies in, 100–101 organizational innovation in, 97, 110–111, 120–131 profits of, 195–197 reporting methods in, 90–97 rise in importance of, 33 shift to markets from, 10–11, 30–32, 125–126 structure of, 29–30 superstar, 195–197 tax credits for job creation proposed, 200–202 Flores, Fernando, 175–176 flying shuttle, 111 Forbes, 209 Ford, Henry, 29–30, 114 Ford Motor Company, 29–30, 31, 33, 98, 99–100 Fortune magazine, 208 Fox News, 178 Freightliner, 182 Friedman, Milton, 190 Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, 109, 110–111, 113–114, 117, 120, 183, 188 fully automated luxury communism, 221 fundamental attribution error, 103 Funding Circle, 152, 163 Gates, Bill, 187 Gawande, Atul, 101 General Motors (GM), 98–99, 101 Germany, 134, 135, 136 gig economy, 186 Gigerenzer, Gerd, 105 Giza pyramids, 21 Glassdoor, 88 GoDaddy, 161 gold standard, 48 “Goobles,” 51 Google, 78, 110, 148, 151, 161, 196 antitrust case against, 165 feedback effects and, 30, 163, 169 prediction markets and, 50–51 Google Glass, 138 Google Shopping, 52 government, central planning for, 175–179 grain (as currency), 47 Great Depression, 51, 136 Great Famine (Soviet Union), 177 Great Recession/financial crisis, 134–135, 136, 215 See also subprime mortgage crisis Great Wall of China, 21, 24 Grünenthal, 42 Guardian, 221 Hagel, John, 31 Harvard Business Review, 99 Harvard Business School, 96 Harvard Medical School, 101 Harvard University, 45 Hayek, Friedrich August von, 39, 46–47 health care sector, 213–214 heuristics, 104–106 Higgs boson, 22 Hollerith, Herman, 96, 99 Holvi, 147 Honda, 30, 32 Huawei, 196 human choice.


pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

The risk is that as time passes, the rift between those parallel universes can grow: “That’s why you have to make the effort to come together and process your experiences jointly, so you really are paying attention to the same world.” Often, the all-too-natural tendency to see things only from your own point of view and to blame the other guy first can be traced to a “fundamental attribution error,” which undermines the common focus required to solve problems. Once you’re in the thrall of such a self-protective distortion, you see your mate’s behavior in terms of what kind of person he or she is. When you think of your own behavior, however, you see it in a larger, explicatory context.

If your partner has a crash, however, you think, or even say, “A maniac behind the wheel! Always tailgating!” As Bradbury puts it, “For you, the problem resulted from a situation that anyone would have responded to in that same way. But the other driver has no business being on the road.” Domestic life offers numerous opportunites to succumb to fundamental attribution errors. When your mate acts grouchy after dinner, you might silently or vociferously react thus: “Moody again! That’s just who you are. How did I ever end up with you?” A better plan, suggests Bradbury, would be to take a deep breath, then ask him about his day. He gets to vent about colleagues who haven’t been doing their fair share of the work, and you get to focus on the situation from his perspective, grasp the circumstances that constrain his behavior, and respond in a way that benefits you both.

lottery winners love unconditional LSD Lykken, David McCain, John McClelland, David McGinty, Joe MacLean, Paul magnetoencephalography (MEG) Marceau, Marcel Marcus Aurelius marriage attentional flexibility in balance of power in biased rose-colored vision in demand-withdraw pattern in fundamental attribution errors and housework and self-esteem differences in marriage counseling martial robots Maslow, Abraham Maugham, Somerset meaning meditation and virtues and meditation attentional training and health and mindfulness Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) memory as biased and unpredictable championship competition and improvement of orgasm and remembering vs. experiencing self and Mertz (robot) Merzenich, Michael Mesulam, Marsel meteoric mode of paying attention Meyer, David Michelangelo Michigan, University of Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Milarepa Miller, Arthur Milton, John mind “mind/brain problem” mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) Mindless Eating (Wansink) mind-wandering Mischel, Walter modafinil monks Morrison, Toni mothers motivation ADHD and dieting and emotions and grit and self-esteem and unconscious willpower and movies see also specific movies Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) multitasking Murray, Henry Murray, Sandra music, musicians alertness and childhood experience of creativity and leisure and mystery moods names, forgetting of narcissism National Institutes of Health nature motivation and see also genes, genetics negativity bias theory Neisser, Ulric Nelson, Horatio nervous system neurons, mirror neuroscience Newton, Isaac New York, N.Y.


pages: 410 words: 114,005

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Airbus A320, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, British Empire, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, crew resource management, deliberate practice, double helix, epigenetics, fear of failure, fundamental attribution error, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, iterative process, James Dyson, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, publication bias, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, Yom Kippur War

To most observers looking from the outside in, these do not register. It is not because they don’t think such possibilities are irrelevant, it is that often they don’t even consider them. The brain just plumps for the simplest, most intuitive narrative: “He’s a homicidal fool!” This is sometimes called by the rather inelegant name of the fundamental attribution error. It is only when the question is flipped—“What happened the last time you jumped lanes?”—that volunteers pause to consider the situational factors. “Oh, yeah, that was because I thought a child was about to run across the street!” Often these excuses are self-serving. But they are not always so.

This is not about being “soft,” but about learning what really went wrong. How much more important is it to engage in this kind of activity in a complex, interdependent system, like a hospital or business? It is noteworthy that even experienced aviation investigators fall prey to the fundamental attribution error. When they are first confronted with an accident, the sense-making part of the brain is already creating explanations before the black box has been discovered. This is why studies have shown that their first instinct is almost always (around 90 percent of the time) to blame “operator error.”

See Connelly, Peter (Baby P case) Bacon, Francis, 134n, 279, 280, 283 ballistic model of success, 145–46 Banja, John, 88–89 banking, 233 bankruptcy, 130 Barker, Steven, 236 Bayles, David, 140–41 Baylis, Trevor, 195 Becker, Jasper, 110 Beckham, David, 253–55, 265, 267, 274–76 Beebe, Rodrick, 21 Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), 291 Being Wrong (Schulz), 78 Berglas, Steven, 273–74 Berlinger, Nancy, 16, 90 Bernanke, Ben, 94–95, 98 Beyond Scared Straight (TV show), 166 Bible, the, 281 Birmingham Six, 117 black boxes, 8, 9, 25, 26, 221 black box thinking, 31 Blackstone, William, 65 Blair, Tony, 90–93, 94 blame, 12, 217–49 aviation and, 232, 239–49 cognitive dissonance and, 231 consequences of blame culture, 226–29, 231, 237–39 in corporate and political world, 225–31 fundamental attribution error and, 232 just culture and, 229–30 Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 and, 217–19, 221–25 media and, 234–35, 236–38 November Oscar incident and, 239–49 nursing/health care administration and, 226–27, 230–31 pervasiveness of, 225 politics and, 234 second victim and, 239 for social workers following Baby P case, 236–38, 239 Blind Watchmaker, The (Dawkins), 128 Blockbuster, 190 bloodletting, 13–14, 54, 154–56, 161–62 Boaler, Jo, 271, 272 Boeing B-17 bomber, 19, 54 bomber aircraft Boeing B-17 bomber, poor cockpit design of, 19, 54 Wald’s analysis of returning bomber aircraft, 35–37 Borchard, Edwin, 67 Boskin, Michael J., 95 Bounce (Syed), 45n Brailsford, Sir David, 171–73, 178, 179, 182, 183, 189 brainstorming, 196–97 Branson, Richard, 271 Brin, Sergey, 199 British Airways, 240, 241, 242, 246, 247 British Board of Trade, 56 Bromgard, Jimmy Ray, 77–79, 116 Bromiley, Adam, 4, 7, 294 Bromiley, Elaine, 3–7, 12, 15–16, 18, 28, 31, 60, 89, 292 Bromiley, Martin, 3–4, 6–7, 15–16, 18, 59–60, 292–94 Bromiley, Victoria, 4, 7, 294 Burns, Sir Terry, 98 Bush, George W., 73, 93, 111–12, 117 business blame and, 225–31 evolutionary, 129–31 mindset and, 259–61 randomized control trials (RCTs) and, 184–86 cadet training, at West Point, 261–63 Callace, Leonard, 69 Cameron, Julia, 200 Campbell, Alastair, 94 Campbell Collaboration, 164 Capello, Fabio, 135–36 Capital One, 185–86 capital punishment, 76 Carnot, Nicolas Léonard Sadi, 132 Catmull, Ed, 207, 208–9, 210 centrally planned economies, 130, 284 Chabris, Christopher, 117 Chapanis, Alphonse, 19 charities, 147–49 checklists, 30, 39, 53, 59 Chicago Convention, 224–25 China, 110, 271–72 Christianity, 279–80 Clinical Human Factors Group, 60, 293 clinical trials, 14 Clinton, Bill, 187 close crop planting, 110 closed loops, 13–14, 29–30, 58, 165 criminal justice system and, 66, 67 Iraq War decisions and, 93 justice system and, 85 randomized control trials (RCTs) and, 154–59 science and, 44 Cobley, Dan, 185 cognitive dissonance, 74–77, 86–107 ambiguity of failure and, 87 blame and, 231 confirmation bias and, 101–3 denial and, 74 disposition effect and, 101 economic forecasting and, 94–97 external versus internal deception and, 87, 88 health care and, 87–90, 103–7 initiation experiment and, 75–76, 86–87 Iraq War and, 90–94 justification and, 88–89, 90, 97–99 Lord’s capital punishment research project findings and, 76 reputation or influence of individual and, 98–100 responses to, 74 self-deception, 110–11 self-esteem and, 75–76 war, 278 wrongful convictions and, 79–83 collapsible stroller, 195, 199 Collins, Jim, 144, 204, 205, 206 communication, 28–29, 30, 39, 59 Communism, 108, 109, 110 complexity, 11 confirmation, 44 confirmation bias, 101–3, 280 connectivity, 199, 204 Connelly, Peter (Baby P case), 236–38, 239 Connelly, Tracey, 236 Conner, Aimee, 40 Convicting the Innocent and State Indemnity for Errors of Criminal Justice (Borchard), 67 Cook, Linda, 69 Corporate Creativity (Robinson & Stern), 179 counterfactual, 90n, 155, 157, 162, 165, 174, 175 court of criminal appeal, 67 cover-ups, 12–13, 88–89 Cowell, Andy, 182 Crandall, Bob, 179 creationism, 42–43 creative destruction, 130 Creativity, Inc.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, sunk-cost fallacy, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

As the economic journalist Chris Dillow3 likes to point out, humans are particularly prone to what psychologists call “fundamental attribution error”—the mistaken assumption that outcomes (such as how well a company does) are related to salient inputs (such as the skill of the CEO) rather than dumb luck or complex, hard-to-observe factors. A world in which increased intangible investment makes skilled managers a bit more important could easily lend fuel to the fire of fundamental attribution error, providing a rationale for powerful people like CEOs to increase their pay by more than the economic fundamentals of the change would justify.

What makes them different is in part their reputation, but also the very organization itself. So let us turn to the organization and, in particular, the role of management and leadership. Managing One reason for the celebrity status of managers is offered by the consistently fascinating blogger Chris Dillow,5 namely, the cognitive bias of “fundamental attribution error.” As we discussed in chapter 6, if people tend to relate the success of a company to its hero manager, rather than to general progress of technology or the state of the economy or the organizational capital embodied in the company itself, they may reward the manager too highly. Thus the manager or leader becomes the subject of a cargo cult.


pages: 345 words: 92,063

Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It's Everyone's Business by Julie Battilana, Tiziana Casciaro

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, Asperger Syndrome, blood diamonds, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, different worldview, disinformation, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, fundamental attribution error, future of work, gig economy, hiring and firing, impact investing, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mega-rich, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steven Pinker, surveillance capitalism, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, zero-sum game

Personal skills or attributes that help us gain power in one environment can actually harm our chances of gaining and keeping it in another.25 Why, then, do so many people believe power is a personal possession? Because we tend to personalize it. L’Homme Providentiel, or “the great man” who determines the course of events and the fate of masses, is a prominent figure in chronicles and legends throughout history.26 In the 1970s, psychologist Lee Ross coined the term “fundamental attribution error,” which refers to our bias to explain another person’s behavior by their personal qualities rather than any situational factors.27 The media, biographies, movies, and more perpetuate the idea that one person can naturally possess power and achieve greatness alone. This misconception is dangerous.

., 114 Barefoot College’s innovation, 144–46, 148, 161 Bastida, Xiye, 121–24 Beard, Mary, 101 Beauvoir, Simone de, 102 belonging, 2, 7, 58, 82, 105, 118, 133, 168, 187, 194, 221n40 See also valued resources: affiliation benefit corporations (B-Corps), 176 Bentham, Jeremy, 151, 245n30 Berners-Lee, Tim, 147, 148 betweenness, 79–81, 79, 153 Bhatia, Karan, 157 bias algorithmic, 150–51 fundamental attribution error, 16 negativity bias, 19 status quo bias, 74 confirmation bias, 88 See also stereotypes, racism, gender inequality BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), 88, 117, 151, 196 Björkman, Tomas, 187, 188, 258n83 Black Lives Matter movement, 117, 139, 141, 147–48 Black Voters Matter Fund, 190 Blau, Peter M., 261n4 Bloomberg, Michael, 130 Boards of Directors, 66, 86–89, 91–92, 128–130, 157, 169, 174–177, 188 Bonaparte, Napoleon, 47 Bourdieu, Pierre, 231n26, 232n34 Brass, Daniel J., 226n12 Brave New World (Huxley), 164 Brock, Timothy, 135 Brodsky, Greg, 162–63 Brown, LaTosha, 190–91 Browner, Carol, 80, 81, 84 Buddhism, 32–33 Buffett, Warren, 114 Buolamwini, Joy, 150 Burke, Tarana, 137 Burt, Ronald S., 227n25, 228n36, 236n66 Business Roundtable, 175–76 Caesar, Julius, 101 Cailliau, Robert, 147, 148 Capital (Marx), 110 Carnegie, Andrew, 110–11 Caro, Robert A., 14–15 Carus, Titus Lucretius, 41 caste system, 91–92 Castells, Manuel, 199, 231n26, 239n2, 261n9 Catholic Church, 131, 135 certified coaches, 5, 209n4 change-makers, 74, 78 Channapatna artisans, 47, 50 chattel slavery, 91–92 checks on power, 165–92 collective responsibility, 189–92 employee representation, 177–82 organizational power sharing, 167–73, 191–92 oversight and accountability, 173–77 societal power sharing, 182–84, 192, 256n63 structural limits, 165–66 See also civic education and engagement, civic vigilance Chenoweth, Erica, 124 Chomsky, Noam, 219n25, 257n77 Cialdini, Robert B., 210n15, 227n23 Citizens United, 118 civic education and engagement, 184–88 civic vigilance, 184–86, 192, 257n74, 257n79 Civil Rights Act, 14 Clegg, Stewart, 236n64, 262n22 Cleisthenes, 182, 256n63 climate science, 45–46 Clinton, Bill, 80 Coats, Michael, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171 Code of Hammurabi, 100–01 codetermination, 181 Cohen, Joshua, 257n75, 259n96 collective action consolidation strategy, 11–12, 111, 112 Google employees story, 154–58 keeping power in check, 192 power distribution responsibility, 195 shifting power balance and, 115, 178–79 collective movements, 117–39 agitation, 118–20, 137, 154, 195, 196, 239n6 digital technology and, xvii, 137–39, 154–58, 242n40 innovation, 119–20, 125–30, 147–49, 154, 195, 196 orchestration, 119–20, 131–37, 154, 195, 196 public agenda and, 120–25 shifting power balance, 115 collective orientation, 32, 36, 195 collective responsibility, 189–92 Community Interest Companies, 176 concentration of wealth, 162, 175–76, 189–90 confirmation bias, 88 Confucius, 55 consolidation strategy, 8, 9, 11–12, 111, 112, 142, 194 Contract with America (Gingrich), 80 Cook, Tim, 158 cooperatives, 162–63, 179–81 Cordeiro, Vera, 27–29, 33, 38–39, 166 Courpasson, David, 247n57, 262n22 COVID-19, 38, 49, 176 Creighton, Mandell, 24 CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), 162, 164, 249n79 Crozier, Michel, 225n6 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, 42 Cuddy, Amy J.

., 218n16, 224n76 Fligstein, Neil, 235n63, 235n64 Floyd, George, 92 folk-Bildung, 187–88, 258n84 Follett, Mary Parker, 8 foot-binding, 48, 57, 220n33 formal power and networks, 70–71, 71 Foucault, Michel, 151, 202, 245n30, 261n16 Founding Fathers of the United States, 183 French Revolution, 47, 109 French Yellow Vests, 117 Frick, Henry Clay, 110 Fridays for Future, 56, 121–25 Friedman, Milton, 46, 219n27 fundamental attribution error, 16 fundamentals of power, xvi–xvii, 2–3, 16, 39–40, 192, 194, 195 Fung, Archon, 259n96, 262n22 g0v (gov zero), 191 Galinsky, Adam D., 211n7, 212n13, 217n11, 222n48, 230n12, 230n14, 230n18, 231n24, 232n39, 237n72, 240n15, 262n22 Galton, Francis, 102 Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, 56, 119, 124 Ganz, Marshall, 122, 139 Garza, Alicia, 139 Gates, Bill, 114 Gates, Melinda, 114 Geddes, Patrick, 102 Gelfand, Michele J., 67, 225n4 gender inequality, 91–92, 101–02, 106–08 gender solidarity, 4–8, 85–87 gene editing technology, 162, 249n79 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 159 Gergen, David, 24 gig economy, 163, 179, 181 Gingrich, Newt, 80 Giridharadas, Anand, 114 global climate strike (2019), 121–23 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 127 global warming, 45–46, 120–25, 163 renewable energy, 144–46 Godfather II, The, 77, 227n21 Google employees story, 154–58 Epic Games and, 113 European legislators, 159, 248n66 privacy policies lawsuits, 159 Project Dragonfly, 156 Project Maven, 155, 156 search history, 124 user data and, 152–54 Gottfried, David, 127 Gouze, Marie (Olympe de Gouges), 125–26 Government of the Nine, 165, 166, 250n2 Gramsci, Antonio, 186–87 Grant, Adam M., 215n55 Great Depression, 9, 114 Great Society, 14 Green, Melanie C., 135 Greene, Robert, 19 greenhouse gas effect See global warming Grimanis, Lia, 1, 4–8, 10, 20 Gruenfeld, Deborah H., 212n7, 230n12, 230n14 Grunitzky, Claude, 228n39 Gutenberg, Johannes, 142, 143 Hammurabi (Babylonian king), 100 Harari, Yuval Noah, 243n3, 245n31, 250n85 Harry, Prince (Duke of Sussex), 30 Harvard Study of Adult Development, 49 Heimans, Jeremy, 141 Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain (O’Toole), 52 hierarchies of power legitimacy narratives and, 100–04, 232n33 legitimization of, 92–94 obedience to authority, 94–97, 229n8 perpetuation of, 27 power infernal trio, 97–98 powerlessness and, 98–100 stability of, 90, 91–92, 197 stereotypes and, 104–8, 169 stickiness of, xvii, 91–92, 108 Hitler, Adolf, 9 Hobbit, The (Tolkien), ix Ho Chi Minh, 15, 16 Hollande, François, 24, 68 Holocaust, 20–21 Homer, 101 Homestead Strike, 111 Hominem te memento, 34, 214n49 L’Homme Providentiel, 16 Hossain, Mashroof, 34–35 hubris awareness of impermanence, 38 cultivating humility and, 30, 34–36, 36 Greek myths of, 23 power sharing and accountability reinforced, 39, 166, 172–73 Hughes, Debbie, 93 human needs See safety, self-esteem, valued resources human rights, xiv, 133–34, 136, 156, 157 humility, 30, 34–36, 36, 38, 195, 215n55 Huxley, Aldous, 164 imbalance of power, 111–15, 153–54, 182, 189–90, 194 impermanence, 34, 38, 115 impermanence awareness, 38, 115 Implicit Association Test, 104 Indignados, 118 infernal trio, 97–98, 102 informal power of networks, 72–74, 72, 84 innovation, 119–20, 125–30, 147–49, 154, 195, 196 In Praise of Scribes (Trithemius), 142, 143 Institutions, 104, 233n47 institutional change, 109, 235n64, 235n65, 235–36n66 interdependence awareness, xv, 32, 38, 97, 115, 195 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 120 interpersonal liking familiarity, 63 similarity, 63, 88–90 intoxication of power, 20–22, 173 Johnson, Boris, 52 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 14, 15, 16, 76 Johnson Space Center (JSC), 167, 168 Johnson treatment, 14 jointly developed power, 8, 162–63, 178–79 Jost, John, 231n19, 231n20, 231n22 Kant, Immanuel, 55 Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, 168–69 Karman, Tawakkol, 186 Kegan, Robert, 214n40, 258n84 Keltner, Dacher, 211n7, 212n16, 230n12, 230n17, 237n71 Kennedy, John F., 14 Keohane, Robert O., 261n14 Khan, Lina M., 159 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 33, 92, 119, 124 Kirchner, Nestór, 131, 132 Krackhardt, David, 71, 225n7, 226n8, 226n16 Lady Gaga, 85 Lasn, Kalle, 118, 119 Legion of Honor, 47, 219–20n30 legitimizing stories, 91–92, 101–04, 123 levers of persuasion, 10, 210n15 LGBTQ+, 88, 109, 117, 131–33, 136–37 LinkedIn, 153 Livingston, Robert W., 172 Lopez, Sandra, 177, 179–80 Lord of the Rings, The (Tolkien), ix–x Lorenzetti, Ambrogio, 165 Lukes, Steven, 261n5 Machiavelli, Niccolò, xvi, 19, 227n21 machine-learning algorithms, 148–49, 150 Magee, Joe C., 212n7, 230n14, 230n18, 231n24, 237n72, 262n22 Mandela, Nelson, 56, 119 Manuel’s story, 70–73 marriage equality, 131–37, 242n34 Marx, Karl, 110, 236n68 Maslow, Abraham, 217–18n15 Mayo, Tony, 171 McEvily, Bill, 86, 226n9 mechanical movable-type printing press, 142 Mencius (Mengzi), 55 meritocracy, 103, 169–70 #MeToo movement, 117, 137, 141, 147–48, 156 Meyer, John W., 233n46 Microsoft, 157 Milgram, Stanley, 95–96, 229n8 misunderstanding power fallacies of, xii–xiv Mjumbe, Nezuma, 144–46, 161 mobile health technology, 149 monopoly, 11 Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat), 182–83 moral principles, 55, 56, 164, 192 moral purity, 25, 30, 212n21, 213n30 Morrison, Toni, 8 motivation See safety, self-esteem, valued resources movement fatigue, 137 mutual dependence, 3, 7, 114, 181, 200 Na’Allah, Bala Ibn, 184 Naím, Moisés, 141 NASA Innovation and Inclusion Council, 170 Johnson Space Center (JSC), 167–68 Transparency and Opportunity Program (TOP), 171–73 National Domestic Workers Alliance, 177–79 National Health Service, 67 Nazi concentration camps, 21 negativity bias, 19 neoliberal capitalist system, 46, 189 Netflix, 153 networks betweenness, 79, 80, 153 informal power, 70–74, 71, 77–81, 84–89 network diversity, 84–89 organizational networks, 73–90 popularity and prominence, 73, 79, 227n25 power mapping, 74–84, 88, 128, 143–46, 191, 194 similarity and social relationships, 82–83, 89–90 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 57 Ning’s story, 61, 63–64 nonviolent civil disobedience, 123–24 Nosek, Brian A., 231n19, 231n20 #NoToSocialMediaBill, 184 Nye, Joseph S., 261n14 Obama Administration, 85 Occupy Wall Street, 118, 119 Ochoa, Ellen, 167–72 Odyssey (Homer), 101 Ogundipe, Tope, 184–85 O’Neil, Cathy, 150 online agitation, 137 Oppenheimer, Harry, 9, 10 orchestration, 119–20, 130–37, 154, 195, 196 organizational networks, 73 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 161 O’Toole, Fintan, 52 oversight and accountability, 173–77 panopticon, 151, 245n30 Pansardi, Pamela, 262n21 Paradigm, 184 Parsons, Talcott, 261n17 participative democracy initiatives, 191 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 57 perceptions of power, 25–27 personal development, 29–40, 97, 135, 163, 170–71, 195 Pettit, Philip, 43 Pfeffer, Jeffrey, 222n49, 260n7, 261n6, 261n13 Phillips, Nelson, 262n22 Pichai, Sundar, 155, 158 Piketty, Thomas, 219n28, 238n84 Pinker, Steven A., 146 Pitkin, Hanna F., 202, 262n20 Plato, ix, 198 Poo, Ai-jen, 178 positional power fallacy, xii–xiii possession of power fallacy, xii, 16, 211n25 Powell, Walter W., 233n46 power, definition of, 1–2, 199–202 power imbalance, 3, 7, 111–15, 201 power’s psychological effects, 20–40 cultivating empathy, 30–33, 36, 38, 195 cultivating humility, 30, 34–36, 36, 38, 195, 215n55 developmental process and, 29–30 experience of power, 22–25 intoxication of power, 20–22, 173 morality and, 27–29, 164, 192, 194 perceptions of power, 25–27 selection, 36–38 structural safeguards, 38–40 power is dirty fallacy, xiii, 19–40 power mapping accuracy levels, 75–77, 194, 227n18 challenging environments, 81–84 community, 191 diversity and accuracy of, 88 endorsers, fence-sitters, and resisters, 77–78 fundamentals of power and, 195 keys to, 40 reputational power, 74–75, 226n16 technological change and, 143, 146 power from rank and role, 69–70 power sharing and accountability organizational, 166, 167–73, 191–92 societal, 182–84, 192, 256n63 power vs. authority, xii–xiii, 58–61, 66–68, 73 power-with, 8 Pratto, Felicia, 231n26 Prince, The (Machiavelli), xvi, 19, 227n21 principal-agent problem, 173 Protestant Reformation, 143 pseudoscience, 94, 101–3 psychological resources, 2, 47–51 psychological safety, 35, 39 public narrative, 122–23, 239–40n14 transportation, 135 Purpose of Power, The: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (Garza), 139 #QuellaVoltaChe, 137 Rabelais, François, 164 Rachid, María, 131–37 racism, 82–84, 89–90, 91–92, 104–08, 117 See also stereotypes Ramarajan, Lakshmi, 169 Ranganathan, Aruna, 47 Rawls, John, 193 Reading the Mind in the Eyes, 22 rebalancing power, 8–13 attraction, 8–11, 9, 12, 194 consolidation, 8, 11–12, 111, 112, 142, 194 digital era and, 158–62 expansion and withdrawal, 8, 12–13, 194 redistribution of power, 170, 197 Renaissance, 143 representative democracy, 183 Republic (Plato), ix, 198 resistance, 123–24, 161, 199 to change, 74, 77–78, 127, 131 violent and nonviolent, 124 Ridgeway, Cecilia L., 233n46, 251n5 Ring des Nibelungen, Der (Wagner), x Ring of Gyges, ix, x, xiii, 198 Roberts, Laura Morgan, 171 Robinson, James A., 257n79 Rogers, Jean, 126–30, 176 Rohingya, 34 Ross, Lee, 16 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 189 Rowan, Brian, 233n46 Roy, Bunker, 144, 161 Rubin, Andy, 156 Russell, Bertrand A.


pages: 338 words: 100,477

Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds by Kevin Dutton

availability heuristic, Bernie Madoff, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, different worldview, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, equity premium, fundamental attribution error, haute couture, job satisfaction, loss aversion, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile

Such cognitive flatulence – the irresistible tendency, when evaluating individual behaviour, to give precedence to internal, dispositional factors over external, situational ones (especially when that behaviour is our own and happens to be good, or is that of somebody else and happens to be bad) has a name in psychology: the fundamental attribution error. And with good reason. It is, as its name suggests, fundamental. 3Just how fundamental is revealed in a study conducted by Lee Ross, Professor of Social Psychology at Stanford University. Pairs of college students first drew lots to determine who would play the role of question master and who would be the contestant in a mock quiz game.

Even though the contestants had clearly overheard the researcher’s instructions to the effect that the questions should be drawn from an idiosyncratic pool of knowledge unknown to anyone else but the question master … and even though they clearly recalled drawing lots to decide who would be question master and who the contestant so that, in a parallel universe, the roles might so easily have been reversed … even though they had experienced first-hand – and were perfectly well aware of – the overwhelming situational odds that were against them … they still exhibited a flagrant disregard for the impact that these odds might have had on the way things turned out. The question master acted smart. So the correspondent inference had to be that he/she was smart. In fact the observers rated the question master as being more clued up than 80 per cent of all the other students at the university! The fundamental attribution error offers us a prime example of what Michael Mansfield was referring to when he talked about impressions and the power of narrative. Take a rape case, for instance. In the courtroom, rape often constitutes a crucible of persuasion ju-jitsu in which opposing lawyers lock horns not so much over the minds of the jury as over their hearts.

Or on his mental state at the time of the incident in question. (Perhaps he was drunk, or under the influence of drugs?) This, combined with an attendant emphasis on rape as a violent, as opposed to an erotic, act tells a simple, coherent ‘story’ – one which plays right into the hands of the fundamental attribution error. With their attention focused solely on the defendant, and forced to account for his actions, there is, so far as the jury is concerned, only one reasonable conclusion. They’ll presume that he is guilty. In contrast, however, the case for the defence will endeavour to focus the jury’s attention solely on the behaviour of the victim.


pages: 246 words: 116

Tyler Cowen-Discover Your Inner Economist Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist-Plume (2008) by Unknown

airport security, Andrei Shleifer, big-box store, British Empire, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, cross-subsidies, fundamental attribution error, George Santayana, haute cuisine, market clearing, microcredit, money market fund, pattern recognition, Ralph Nader, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs

But that is precisely the point. The Norwegians-and some of us-find this behavior entirely acceptable. But the ordinary resident of Chad, who works seven days a week, even when debilitated with malaria or dysentery, might find it unbelievable or horrifying. Psychologists write about the "Fundamental Attribution Error," or "correspondence bias," as it is sometimes called. The error is to assume that a single instance of individual behavior represents a deeply rooted personality trait. Instead, the behavior is often the result of situational influences. For instance, if someone cuts ahead of us in line, we tend to assume the interloper is a bad person.

See food Dirty Dishes Parable, 13-16,26 Divine Comedy (Dante), 166 driving ability, 114, 174 Dubai,148 economics central concept of, 2 deference to experts, 115-16 perceptions of, 5-8, 185-87 principles of good economics, 7-8 purpose, 4 terminology, 6 economists idealism of, 4 people posing as, 6 perceptions of, 185-87 Ecuador, 34-35 education and cultural consumption, 50-51 and happiness, 180 and musical tastes, 69 and performance, 24-25, 86, 122-23, 125 as Signal, 80, 82 Ekman, Paul, 105 employment and incentives, 33-34, 41-45, 45-46 meetings, 42-45 perceptions of, 136 signaling in, 82 and tardiness, 36 wages, 33-34, 40-41,148-50,151 Ender's Game (Card), 28 England, 147 Enron, 167 Enter the Dragon, 81 equality, 148-50 errands, 122 ethnic restaurants, 143-47, 147-57 European charities, 192 "Every Day" (Holly), 66 Evite.com,37 exercise, 31-32,118-20,136 expectations, 37 expected utility theory, 127 external motivations, 14 eastern European cuisines, 147 Eastwood, Clint, 73 eBay, 169 The Faerie Queene (Spenser), 65 Fagone, Jason, 172 Fair Play (Landsburg), 4, 91 cooperation, 19-21, 186 "correspondence bias," 21 corruption, 17, 18, 19,221 costs fixed costs, 176, 177, 181 signaling, 80, 81-82 sunk costs, 74-76 transaction costs, 176, 181 counter-signaling, 107-11 country and western music, 69, 70 cross-subsidies, 157, 159 crying bars, 183-84 culture, 47 -77 art, 51-61 (see also main entry for art) books and reading, 61-66 commitment to, 72-77 music, 66-72, 76 and scarcities, 48, 49-51 customer satisfaction, 56 240 I Index fair trade coffee, 206-7 families, 89-92, 215-16 Faulkner, William, 62 fear, 173-74 fixed costs, 176, 177, 181 Fogel, Robert, 164-65 food, 139-62 availability of, 165 choosing food, 140-41, 142-47, 150-51 choosing restaurants, 147-50 cooking at home, 141-42, 143, 145, 150-51, 159-62 ethnic food, 143-47, 147-57 food stalls, 154-57 ingredients, 144-45, 161 in Las Vegas, 157-59 speed eating contests, 172 See also restaurants France, 147 Frank, Mark, 105 Frank, Robert, 186 French cuisine, 149-50 French impressionists, 58 Freud, Sigmund, 118, 180 Friedman, David, 4-5 friends, 179 Fryer, Roland, 24-25 "Fundamental Attribution Error," 21 group productivity, 126-27 gUides of Morocco, 39-41 guilt, 74 gym memberships, 118-20 Haiti, 148-49, 197-98 Hall, Robert, 74 The Hammer, 125-26 handgun purchase plans, 207 Hanson, Robin, 89, 93-96 happiness, 179-81 Harbaugh, Rich, 109-10 hard-to-get strategy, 83-84 Hassan, Nur Malena, 85-86 hawker centers, 154-57 Hawking, Stephen, 65, 108 heavy metal music, 69, 71-72 Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life (Friedman), 4 high school seniors, 114 Holly, Buddy, 66, 67 Holocaust, 199 Homer, Winslow, 59 homosexuality, 180 Horsemen of the Esophagus (Fagone), 172 How to Read a Book (Adler), 63 "Hungarian Rhapsody #2" (Liszt), 58 Hurricane Katrina, 89, 198, 200 Hyderabad, India, 216 gambling, 93, 157-58, 159 The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (Strauss), 83 generosity, 179 Germany, 147, 150, 151 Getty Museum, 55 gifts, 81-82,185-86,210-14 girlfriends, imaginary, 165-66 Gladwell, Malcolm, 9, 199 Golding, William, 66 gospel music, 70 Grameen Bank Project, 215 Grandma Test, 7 Greece, ancient, 51, 117 greed, 167-69 identity, 67-69, 74, 76, 90 immigrants and immigration, 148, 149, 152,153 incentives, 11-29,31-46 and altruism, 187 applying parables, 22-29 and beliefs, 122 and capitalism, 46 Car Salesman Parable, 16, 22, 26, 45 as central concept of economics, 2 and context, 16-22 and control, 31-33, 44 and cooperation, 19-21 and cultural consumption, 48 and decision making, 10 Index difficulty of, 45-46 Dirty Dishes Parable, 13-16, 26 and eating good food, 139 external incentives, 32 intrinsic incentives, 45 and invitation responses, 37-38 and liberty, 4 and motivation, 2, 32, 33 Parking Tickets Parable, 16-22,33,45 penalties, 36-37 and performance, 38-41 and punctuality, 34-37 in relationships, 85, 178 for RSVPs, 37-38 self-management of, 51 in the workplace, 33-34, 41-45, 45-46 and world views, 117 India, 148, 187-92, 198 Indian cuisine, 145-48, 150, 154-55, 201-2 inequality, 148-50 infant mortality, 198-99 influenza scenario, 128-29 insiders, 44 insurance, 89-90, 134-36, 168 integrity, 180 interest, 52-53 Internet, 182 investments, 91, 92 invitations, 37-38 Iraq, 75 Jenkins, Jerrold, 65 Johnson, Samuel, 63 Journal of General Internal Medicine, 128 Joyce, James, 64 Jurassic Park, 58 Kahneman, Daniel, 179 Katrina, 89, 198, 200 Kellogg Foundation, 205 kidnappers and kidnapping, 167-68 Kiva.org, 217 Klein, Erica, 175 I 241 Kolkaata.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

If a waiter is curt we assume it’s because he’s ornery instead of observing that he’s dealing with the lunchtime rush (or responding to your own rudeness at his delay in taking your order). If a hedge fund manager earns 30 percent on returns, we assume she’s a genius, when in fact she almost certainly just got lucky.4 This failure in judgment was so central to how we judge others that Ross termed it the fundamental attribution error, and it serves as a potent illustration of the power of circumstance rather than individual volition in explaining the choices we make. A 2004 study by Ross and a pair of coauthors provides some intriguing insights into how “the market” affects how we behave. The study focused on a game called the prisoners’ dilemma, a staple of game theory, which presents the following quandary to a pair of criminals.

See mathematics models, 15, 24–29 of platforms, 107–112 reality-based, 35–37, 45, 49–51, 141 traditional, 110, 133 See also lemon markets theory; markets; platforms Edelman, Ben, 123–124 efficiency optimization, 85–86 eighteenth-century book markets, 90–91 Eisenstein, Don, 154 Elfenbein, Daniel, 73–75 empirical economics, 45 English auctions, 83, 100 equilibrium, existence of, 29, 31–34, 36–37, 40, 45, 76 Euler’s buckling equation, 141 exploding offers, 140 Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 102–103 feedback ratings, customer, 52, 74–75 Feeding America, 154 Findlay, Ronald, 85 first-price (live) auction, 84 first-price sealed-bid auction, 86–87, 99–100 Fisman, Ray Airbnb experience, 171–172 lesson on selling lemons, 59 study on eBay seller motivation for giving to charities, 73 fixed prices, auction versus, 96–97 food bank market system, 154–160 Foundations of Economic Analysis (Samuelson), 28 Fourcade, Marion, 20 fraternity rush, 140 free markets See markets frictions, market, 169–174 “Friday Car,” 46 Friedman, Milton, 72, 151 fundamental attribution error, 178 fundamentalists, market, 16–17 Future Shop (Snider and Ziporyn), 42 Gale, David, 136, 137–138 Gambetta, Diego, 68 game theory, 25–27, 136, 178–179 gang markings as signals, 61–62, 67–68 general equilibrium model, 31–34, 36–37, 40, 76 German POW camps, marketplaces at, 7–10, 13 Giving Works program (eBay for Charity), 73–75 global thermonuclear war, game of, 26 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 89–92, 101 greed, in platforms, 128–129 Groves, Theodore, 93 guarantees, money-back, 69–71 Hall, Robert, 94 Hayek, Friedrich, 13 health markets, lemon problems and, 58–59 Healy, Kieran, 20 Heilbroner, Robert, 20, 21 Henry, John, 80–81, 87–89 Hermann and Dorothea (Goethe) royalties, 90–92, 101 Hernandez, Frances, 61–62 Herodotus, 81 Hicks, John, 34 hierarchy in POW camps, survival rates and, 10–13 Holderness, Clifford, 11–12 home contractors, 119–120 Hoshijima Susumu, 10–11 hotel lobbies, Airbnb vs., 172 Hoteling, Harold, 30 house exchange algorithm, 163–164 “How to Spot Fake Tiffany Jewelry” (yvonne9903), 52–53 human capital theory, 35 income, distribution of, 22 industrial organization, 117–118 inferior good, 180 information management system, 41–42 “Inside the School Assignment Maze” (article), 146 insights, market, 14–15 internet commerce, 41–43 lifestyle changes with creation of, 2–3 scams, 52–55 See also auctions invisible hand metaphor, 21, 33, 182 Japanese POW camps, 10–13, 175–177 Kakutani, Shizuo, 32 Das Kapital (Marx), 23 Keynes, John Maynard, 49–50 “Kidney Exchange” (Roth et al.), 164–165 kidneys sales, 160–161 transplant exchange algorithm, 162–166 King Rat (Clavell), 175–177 Klein, Joel, 143–144 labor markets, 48, 64–66 labor theory of value, 23 ladies night at bars, 123 laundry service platform, 112 lemon markets theory, 44–51, 58–59, 64, 112 “Let Them Eat Pollution” (article), 167 life insurance, 1840s, 153 Lincoln Elementary, 1–2 Little, I.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The future is already here, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Yochai Benkler

The doppelgänger selves reflected in our media are a lot like, but not exactly, ourselves. And as we’ll see, there are some important things that are lost in the gap between the data and reality. To start with, Zuckerberg’s statement that we have “one identity” simply isn’t true. Psychologists have a name for this fallacy: fundamental attribution error. We tend to attribute peoples’ behavior to their inner traits and personality rather than to the situations they’re placed in. Even in situations where the context clearly plays a major role, we find it hard to separate how someone behaves from who she is. And to a striking degree, our characteristics are fluid.

Catalist categories, wide censorship Chait, Jon China Internet police in Pabst in CIA CineMatch cities architecture and design in Clarium click signals Clinton, Bill cloud Coca-Cola Village Amusement Park code and programmers coding, conceptual Cohen, Claudia Cohler, Matt Coleman, Gabriella collaborative filtering confirmation bias Conley, Dalton cookies Cortés, Hernán Coyne, Chris craigslist creativity and innovation credit reports Cropley, Arthur curators, see editors and curators curiosity cybernetics DARPA data laundering dating sites OkCupid day-parting De Castro, Henrique defaults democracy dialogue and design and architecture Dewey, John dialogue Digg DirectLife discovery disintermediation Dixon, Pam DNA Do Not Track list Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Downey, Tom Duncker, Karl Dyson, Esther EchoMetrix Eckles, Dean EdgeRank editors and curators Eliza e-mail constitutional protections and Gmail engineers Erowid Europe evolution Eysenck, Hans Facebook advertisements and EdgeRank and Everywhere Google and identity and Like button on local-maximum problem and lock-in and News Feeds on political advertising and political involvement and privacy policy of Twitter compared with facial recognition Fair Credit Reporting Act Fair Information Practices Fallows, James Farah, Martha FBI Flatow, Alfred Foer, Josh Foisie, Philip Founder’s Fund Foursquare France Fried, Charles Friedman, Patri Friedman, Tom friendly world syndrome Friendster From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Turner) fundamental attribution error Gawker geeks Gelernter, David Gellman, Robert genetic data Gerbner, George Gibson, William Gilbert, Dan Glass, Ira Gmail Google China and dashboard of digitized books and Docs “Don’t be evil” slogan of ethics and Facebook and facial recognition and Gmail Instant lock-in and News Oceana and PageRank Picasa political advertising and political involvement and Reader Research search algorithm of Translate Voice government Graber, Doris gun registration Habermas, Jurgen Hackers (Levy) hackers, hacking Hare, Brian Harris, Vincent Hastings, Reed Hauser, John Hayes, Gary Heiferman, Scott Heuer, Richards Hillis, Danny Hoekstra, Pete Huffington Post humanlike agents Hume, David IBM identity identity loops induction infomercials information gap Inglehart, Ron Institute intelligent agents Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) iPhone IQ Iraq i-traffic iTunes Iyengar, Shanto jet pilots Jiang Zemin Jobs, Steve Johnson, Steven Joy, Bill Kaczinski, Ted Kafka, Franz Kalathil, Shanthi Kane, Patrick Kantorovich, Aharon Katona, George Kayak Kazmaier, Dick Kekule, Friedrich Keller, Bill Kelly, Kevin Kennedy, John F.


pages: 796 words: 223,275

The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich

agricultural Revolution, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, charter city, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, delayed gratification, discovery of the americas, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, income inequality, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, land reform, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Republic of Letters, rolodex, social web, spinning jenny, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Stanford marshmallow experiment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, ultimatum game, wikimedia commons, working-age population, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

If you’ve had a course in Social Psychology, you might recognize this as Cognitive Dissonance. The available evidence suggests that WEIRD people suffer more severely from Cognitive Dissonance and do a range of mental gymnastics to relieve their discomfort. Second, dispositional thinking also influences how we judge others. Psychologists label this phenomenon the Fundamental Attribution Error, though it’s clearly not that fundamental; it’s WEIRD. In general, WEIRD people are particularly biased to attribute actions or behavioral patterns to what’s “inside” others, relying on inferences about dispositional traits (e.g., he’s “lazy” or “untrustworthy”), personalities (she’s “introverted” or “conscientious”), and underlying beliefs or intentions (“what did he know and when did he know it?”).

Individuals increasingly sought consistency—to be “themselves”—across contexts and judged others negatively when they failed to show this consistency. Understanding this helps explain why WEIRD people are so much more likely than others to impute the causes of someone’s behavior to their personal dispositions over their contexts and relationships (the Fundamental Attribution Error), and why they are so uncomfortable with their own personal inconsistencies (Cognitive Dissonance). Reacting to this culturally constructed worldview, WEIRD people are forever seeking their “true selves” (good luck!). Thus, while they certainly exist across societies and back into history, dispositions in general, and personalities specifically, are just more important in WEIRD societies.46 THE ENDOWMENT EFFECT Traditionally, Hadza hunter-gatherers engaged in no commerce among themselves and little trade with other groups.

By contrast, many non-Protestants maintain that it’s not adultery if it remains only a mental state.38 Comparing American Protestants and Catholics reveals somewhat smaller differences, but it still appears that Protestants are more focused than Catholics on people’s internal states, beliefs, feelings, and dispositions. In one battery of studies, Cohen and his collaborators showed that Protestants are more inclined than Catholics to make the Fundamental Attribution Error—that tendency of WEIRD people to focus on others’ internal dispositions over obvious contextual factors when judging them. Cohen’s team makes the case, through a series of experiments, that this effect is driven by how Protestants think about the independence of the soul. Unlike Catholics, who have their Church, priests, sacraments (e.g., Confession and Penance), communities, and the prayers of their families and friends to help their souls enter the kingdom of heaven, Protestants stand alone, naked and solitary before a judgmental God.


pages: 387 words: 106,753

Why Startups Fail: A New Roadmap for Entrepreneurial Success by Tom Eisenmann

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, cleantech, conceptual framework, coronavirus, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, gig economy, Hyperloop, income inequality, inventory management, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, nuclear winter, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk/return, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, WeWork, Y Combinator, young professional

We shine a spotlight on one big reason for a calamity—say, a failed presidential bid (“neglect of a key swing state”) or a sports team’s late-season collapse (“the star pitcher’s torn hamstring”)—when the outcome is actually a result of multiple factors. Furthermore, we’re prone to make what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error. Research shows that when we observe others, our explanations for their behaviors tend to overemphasize dispositional factors—their personality type and the values we assume they have—while downplaying situational factors, such as social pressures or environmental circumstances. By contrast, when explaining our own behaviors, we tend to attribute good outcomes to dispositional factors—in particular, our skill and diligence—and bad outcomes to situational ones.

.), discusses John Stuart Mill’s analysis of the single cause fallacy, which Mill categorizes as a fallacy of generalization of the type post hoc ergo propter hoc. Furthermore, we’re prone: Lee Ross, “The Intuitive Psychologist and His Shortcomings: Distortions in the Attribution Process,” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 10 (1977): 173–220, coins the term “fundamental attribution error.” The BMW example is from Patrick Enright, “Road Rage Can Churn the Calmest of Hearts,” NBCNews.com, May 15, 2007. However, that meant: Dean Shepherd and Randall Tobias, eds., Entrepreneurial Failure (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2013), is a compilation of thirty-six academic articles on the causes and consequences of entrepreneurial failure.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

Alvin Roth, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Ida Tarbell, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, tail risk, telemarketer, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Market for Lemons, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

We tend to think that those in careers other than our own are fundamentally di erent kinds of people. Personality and character di erences are indeed somewhat associated with occupations. But this overly strong tendency to categorize people is related to what psychologists have dubbed “the fundamental attribution error.”1 It is a known fact that we tend to attribute the behavior of others to personality differences far more often than is warranted. We tend to think of the philosopher, artist, or poet as the polar opposite of the CEO, banker, or businessperson. But it is not really so. The idea that businesspeople have personalities fundamentally di erent from those in other walks of life is belied by the fact that people often combine or switch careers.

See bonds Forbes 400 list, 188, 194–95, 207, 256n7 foreign direct investment, 229 foreign exchange swaps, 75 forward markets, 75 foundations, 126, 165, 199, 207–8. See also philanthropists Franco-Prussian War, 221–22 Frank, Robert H., 192 Franklin, Benjamin, 104 Franz Ferdinand, Archduke, 183, 223 Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), 53 French, Kenneth, 48 Freud, Sigmund, 129 Fried, Jesse, 24, 25 Friedman, Milton, 94, 95 fundamental attribution error, 135 futures markets, 4, 13, 61, 62, 75, 246n6 (Chapter 9) G20. See Group of Twenty Gale, David, 73 gambling, 140, 160–61, 168, 175. See also risk taking Gartner, John D., 173 Gartzke, Erik, 229 Gates, Bill, 9–10, 126, 199 Gates Foundation, 126 Gaviria, Hermilda, 237–38 GDP shares, 117 Geanakoplos, John, 156 Germany: accounting regulators, 101; corporate boards, 121, 249n4 (Chapter 17); DAX stock index, 171; hyperinflation, 146–47; Marshall Plan, 158; Nazi rule, 146, 156–57, 210; philanthropic giving, 199; World War I reparation debt, 156–57 gifts: from lobbyists, 90; tax deductions, 203–5; taxes on, 204–5.


pages: 497 words: 130,817

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs by Lauren A. Rivera

affirmative action, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Donald Trump, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, income inequality, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, meta-analysis, new economy, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, school choice, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wisdom of Crowds, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, young professional

APPENDIX A. WHO IS ELITE? 1. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ismksjp10q0&feature=youtube (accessed October 21, 2014). 2. See Bellah et al. 1985. 3. Although individualism has deep cultural and philosophical roots in the United States, it also has broader, psychological ones. The fundamental attribution error documents the general psychological tendency of people who live in individualistic cultures to explain things that are good that happen to them—such as getting into college or getting a promotion—as stemming from internal and stable characteristics, such as their drive or effort, rather than external factors such as luck, chance, or help.

See also interviewer evaluations of candidates fit, 116–17, 135–45, 270, 283–84, 329n14, 332n4; class background and, 137, 143–44, 242; definitions of, 136, 333n8; extracurricular activities and, 94–95, 136–38, 140–42, 242, 254, 277–78, 329n15, 330n17, 333n10; gender and, 143, 222, 230; impact on calibrations and callbacks of, 222, 230; impact on final hiring decisions of, 238–39, 242, 244–46; inequality and, 137, 143–44, 222, 230, 242; interviewer measures of, 140–42, 333n17, 337n11; vs. polish, 137, 332n5; ratings of importance of, 142–43; screening of résumés for, 94–95, 332n4 fit interviews, 337n11 fly outs, 331n8. See also super days full-time recruiting, 18 fundamental attribution error, 344n3 Garth, Bryant, 40–41, 327n28 gated playing field. See recruiting sources Gaztambide-Fernández, Rubén, 327n25 gender, 269, 281, 285; case interviews and, 227–30; champion roles and, 340n24, 340nn26–30; communication skills and, 224–25; cultural capital and, 342n5; equal opportunity legislation on, 275–76; in evaluation of prior employment, 108–9; in final hiring decisions, 247–51; fit and, 143, 222, 230; of Holt interviewers, 297t, 298; impact on calibrations and callbacks of, 222–24, 228–30; interviewer biases and, 212, 243; of interview sample, 291–96; math skills and, 189, 228–30, 255, 337n9; physical appearance and, 255; polish and, 224–27; stereotypes of competence and, 180–81, 224–27, 230–31, 243, 339nn8–9; work-life balance questions and, 205–6 gender diversity, 41–42, 207–9, 324n32; attrition rates and, 333n13; hiring decisions, 15, 139–40; HR professionals and, 331n11.


pages: 512 words: 165,704

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, call centre, cellular automata, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, congestion charging, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, DARPA: Urban Challenge, endowment effect, extreme commuting, fundamental attribution error, Garrett Hardin, Google Earth, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, Induced demand, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, megacity, Milgram experiment, Nash equilibrium, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, statistical model, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, traffic fines, Tragedy of the Commons, ultimatum game, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

Sometimes, says Katz, as part of this “moral drama,” and in an effort to create a “new meaning” for the encounter, we will try to find out something after the fact about the driver who wronged us (perhaps speeding up to see them), meanwhile running down a mental list of potential villains (e.g., women, men, teenagers, senior citizens, truck drivers, Democrats, Republicans, “idiots on cell phones,” or, if all else fails, simply “idiots”) before finding a suitable resolution to the drama. This seems an on-road version of what psychologists call the “fundamental attribution error,” a commonly observed way in which we ascribe the actions of others to who they are; in what is known as the “actor-observer effect,” meanwhile, we attribute our own actions to how we were forced to act in specific situations. Chances are you have never looked at yourself in the rearview mirror and thought, “Stupid #$%&!

On a larger scale, it might also help explain, more than actual national or civic chauvinism, why drivers the world around have their own favorite traffic targets: “The Albanians are terrible drivers,” say the Greeks. “The Dutch are the worst drivers,” say the Germans. It’s best not to get New Yorkers started about New Jersey drivers. We even seem to make the fundamental attribution error in the way we travel. When bicyclists violate a traffic law, research has showed it is because, in the eyes of drivers, they are reckless anarchists; drivers, meanwhile, are more likely to view the violation of a traffic law by another driver as somehow being required by the circumstances.


pages: 266 words: 87,411

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty

Awards, from the Nobel to the Pulitzer, from the Oscars to the MacArthur “genius grants,” usually go to single winners. Even in team sports we shower the superstars with prizes and praise. Study after study shows that when explaining events we tend to put too much emphasis on the role of individual agency and not enough on circumstances, a phenomenon dubbed the Fundamental Attribution Error. That is why we routinely assume CEOs have more power to shape the fortunes of their companies than all the research suggests. We certainly love the idea of the lone genius, the solo expert toiling away in solitude before finally shrieking “Eureka!” and emerging into the sunlight clutching a fully-formed solution to a problem.


The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work by Vishen Lakhiani

Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, meta-analysis, microbiome, performance metric, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, web application, white picket fence

Don’t underestimate how much you matter or assume your managers won’t have time for your concern or question. And NEVER ever take on the disempowering beliefs of someone else. In fact, when you hear such a thing, correct them. Simply ask a question like: “Have you validated that belief with hard data science and study? Or is that a personal opinion clouded by Fundamental Attribution Error and one’s own childhood insecurities projecting a character trait onto someone else?” You get the idea ;-) The simple rule to live by is this: “If the belief makes me feel disempowered, unless it’s backed by empirical scientific data, and not just on someone’s opinion, I’m going to choose to ignore it and do what will empower me instead.”


pages: 268 words: 89,761

Unhealthy societies: the afflictions of inequality by Richard G. Wilkinson

attribution theory, business cycle, clean water, correlation coefficient, experimental subject, full employment, fundamental attribution error, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, invisible hand, land reform, longitudinal study, means of production, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, twin studies, upwardly mobile

We read what we take to be the inner world from socially and institutionally motivated and structured external behaviour. However, in our conscious understanding we assume the process works the other way round. Indeed, the tendency—mentioned earlier—to see social institutions as if they were expressions of human nature seems to be supported by what has been called ‘the fundamental attribution error’. This is a systematic tendency noted by social psychologists for people to underestimate the impact of external situational factors and to overestimate the role of internal motivating dispositions in their perception of other people’s behaviour (Ross, L. 1978). In other words, instead of seeing the real constraints of the situation, behaviour is perceived as if it were simply an expression of an inbuilt disposition.


pages: 299 words: 92,782

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Atul Gawande, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Checklist Manifesto, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, commoditize, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Emanuel Derman, fundamental attribution error, Gini coefficient, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, income inequality, Innovator's Dilemma, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, prisoner's dilemma, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, shareholder value, Simon Singh, six sigma, Steven Pinker, transaction costs, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game, Zipf's Law

Subjects who were told they were right seven out of the first eight tosses estimated their own ability to predict heads or tails as 5.7 (0 = very bad and 10 = pretty good), well above those who were told they were wrong at the beginning. In this case, initial success with random events persuaded those people to think that they had some sort of skill at predicting the way a coin would land.29 Likewise, when we observe the success of others, we fall victim to the fundamental attribution error. In this context, the error is the tendency to base our explanation of what happens on an individual's skill rather than the situation. Once we create a narrative that explains success, we tend to suppress other explanations and see what happened as inevitable. For example, while researchers have come to different conclusions about the influence CEOs have on their companies, few would deny that the perception of their importance is exaggerated.


pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, tail risk, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

But imagine you see someone who snaps, shouts, then apologizes and explains that he has insomnia and hasn’t slept properly in days. What does that incident say about that person? Logically, it should say about him what it said about you, but decades of research suggest that’s not the lesson you will draw. You will think this person is a jerk. Psychologists call this the fundamental attribution error. We are fully aware that situational factors—like insomnia—can influence our own behavior, and we rightly attribute our behavior to those factors, but we routinely don’t make the same allowance for others and instead assume that their behavior reflects who they are. Why did that guy act like a jerk?


pages: 417 words: 103,458

The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise Your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions by David Robson

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, cognitive bias, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, deliberate practice, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, lone genius, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, sunk-cost fallacy, the scientific method, theory of mind, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

‘Without humility, you are unable to learn,’ Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, told the New York Times.47 ‘Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,’ he added. ‘They, instead, commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved . . . What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position.


pages: 426 words: 117,027

Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought by Barbara Tversky

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, clean water, continuous integration, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, fundamental attribution error, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Snow's cholera map, Lao Tzu, meta-analysis, natural language processing, neurotypical, patient HM, Richard Feynman, Steven Pinker, the new new thing, theory of mind, urban planning

People are faster to read words denoting certainty, like sure, when they are located close in a drawn scene and faster to read words expressing uncertainty, like maybe, when the words are placed at a distance in a scene. When they imagine the distant future, people judge that others and they themselves will be more consistent than when they imagine the near future. This implies that we are more likely to get out of ourselves when we take a distant perspective on ourselves. According to the fundamental attribution error, we see our own behavior as more dependent on external influences, so more variable and uncertain, but we see others’ behavior is more dependent on traits, so more consistent and predictable. Distancing ourselves from ourselves makes us see our own selves like selves of others. People use more abstract words to describe their distant past than their close past.


pages: 347 words: 123,884

The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism by Temple Grandin, Sean Barron

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, fundamental attribution error, index card, Mars Rover, neurotypical, theory of mind

If you allow your rage to rule you, you will become your own enemy. Not only that, but you will be stooping to the level of the people you dislike most. Lashing out at people in a rage is just as mean and nasty as any of the unfair things people have done to you. It is also very important to understand the “fundamental attribution error.” This is the tendency of all humans to overestimate how much people’s behavior comes from their basic personality and to underestimate how much of people’s behavior comes from situational influences. For example, if I accidentally cut someone off and they flip me the bird, I think, “Wow, that guy is a total jerk!”


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

Other social sciences have similar debates. Psychology has its person-situation debate, which pits internal personality against external situation as determinants of behavior. Sociologists talk about social structures versus individual agency. And in the public sphere, it’s become fashionable to note the “fundamental attribution error,” which says that behavior is more often a result of circumstances than of some underlying stable personality. It’s obvious, though, that behavior is caused by a complex interaction of both internal states and external situations. Which matters more is difficult to answer in a general way.


pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, hedonic treadmill, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

five trustworthy behaviors: J. Gottman, and N. Silver, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert (New York: Harmony, 2015). found in a set of studies: R. Raghunathan, and E. J. Han, “Default Social Cynicism: Asymmetries in the Fundamental Attribution Error,” working paper, University of Texas at Austin, 2014. Interpersonal Trust Scale: The items in the scale have been adapted from J. Rotter, “A New Scale for the Measurement of Interpersonal Trust,” Journal of Personality (1967). Smart Trust: Covey, Link, and Merrill, Smart Trust.


pages: 483 words: 134,377

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, battle of ideas, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, income per capita, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, M-Pesa, microcredit, Monroe Doctrine, oil shock, place-making, Ponzi scheme, risk/return, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional

But let’s first review some more of the psychological biases that also determine which explanations we prefer. THE WISH FOR HEROES This chapter is starting to look like one of those action movies in which the hero slays one monster only to find it replaced by a more formidable one, over and over. An even more potent bias in favor of stories of benevolent autocrats is called the “fundamental attribution error.” Demonstrated in many experiments, this error refers to the tendency of people to attribute an outcome too much to individual personality, intentions, and skill and not enough to external factors. The typical experiment takes some volunteers (known as test subjects) and shows them a situation and asks them to interpret it.


pages: 517 words: 139,477

Stocks for the Long Run 5/E: the Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy Siegel

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Bear Stearns, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computer age, computerized trading, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, fundamental attribution error, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, Money creation, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk free rate, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selling pickaxes during a gold rush, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund

Lichtenstein, “Knowing with Uncertainty: The Appropriateness of Extreme Confidence,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, vol. 3 (1977), pp. 552-564. 13. A. H. Hastorf, D. J. Schneider, and J. Polefka, Person Perception, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1970. This is also called the Fundamental Attribution Error. 14. For reference to a model that incorporates success as a source of overconfidence, see Simon Gervais and Terrance Odean, “Learning to Be Overconfident,” Review of Financial Studies, vol. 14, no. 1 (2001), pp. 1-27. 15. For references to models that incorporate the representative heuristic as a source of overconfidence, see either N.


pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, critique of consumerism, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Garrett Hardin, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, Pier Paolo Pasolini, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

The rhetoric of men’s sexual dominance over women (“But she wants it”; “I am a man, and women are made for my lusts”) or the rhetoric of a business civilization (“That government is best that governs least”) do explain such things, and both of the rhetorics can and have changed. Not easily or often. But sometimes surprisingly quickly. Attributing to deeper culture or personality a behavior that in fact arises from present rhetoric or circumstances is called by social psychologists the “fundamental attribution error.”1 Seemingly profound and permanent differences in cultural dispositions to which we attribute influence on behavior can disappear in a generation or two. The grandchildren of Hmong immigrants to the United States differ in many of their values-in-action only a little from the grandchildren of British immigrants.


Engineering Security by Peter Gutmann

active measures, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, bank run, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Brian Krebs, business process, call centre, card file, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Debian, domain-specific language, Donald Davies, Donald Knuth, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, fault tolerance, Firefox, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, glass ceiling, GnuPG, Google Chrome, iterative process, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, linear programming, litecoin, load shedding, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Network effects, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, post-materialism, QR code, race to the bottom, random walk, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ruby on Rails, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, semantic web, Skype, slashdot, smart meter, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, sunk-cost fallacy, telemarketer, text mining, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Market for Lemons, the payments system, Therac-25, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, web application, web of trust, x509 certificate, Y2K, zero day, Zimmermann PGP

, Lyn Abramson and Lauren Alloy, Journal of Experimental Psychology (General), Vol.108, No.4 (December 1979), p.441. 220 Psychology [321] “Depression and pessimism for the future: biased use of statistically relevant information in predictions for self versus others”, Anthony Ahrens and Lauren Alloy, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.52, No.2 (February 1987), p.366. [322] “Mood and Persuasion: A Cognitive Response Analysis”, Herbert Bless, Gerd Bohner, Norbert Schwarz and Fritz Strack, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol.16, No.2 (June 1990), p.331. [323] “Happy and Mindless, But Sad and Smart? The Impact of Affective States on Analytic Reasoning”, Norbert Schwarz and Herbert Bless, in “Emotion and Social Judgements”, Routledge, 1991, p.55. [324] “On being happy and mistaken: mood effects on the fundamental attribution error”, Joe Forgas, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.75, No.2 (August 1998), p.318. [325] “Mood in foreign exchange trading: Cognitive processes and performance”, Kevin Au, Forrest Chan, Denis Wang and Ilan Vertinsky, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol.91, No.2 (July 2003), p.322. [326] “Flawed Self-Assessment: Implications for Health, Education, and the Workplace”, David Dunning, Chip Heath and Jerry Suls, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol.5, No.3 (December 2004), p.69. [327] “The Effect of Mood on Detection of Covariation”, Julia Braverman, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol.31, No.11 (November 2005), p.1487. [328] “The sad truth about depressive realism”, Lorraine Allan, Shepard Siegel and Samuel Hannah, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol.60, No.3 (March 2007), p.482. [329] “Effects of mood and emotion on juror processing and judgments”, Carolyn Semmler and Neil Brewer, Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol.20, No.4 (July/August 2002), p.423. [330] “Emotional evidence and jurors’ judgments: the promise of neuroscience for informing psychology and law”, Jessica Salerno and Bette Bottoms, Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol.27, No.2 (March/April 2009), p.273. [331] “Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality profiles in unipolar depressed patients”, David Janowsky, Elliot Hong, Shirley Morter and Laura Howe, World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, Vol.3, No.4 (October 2002), p.207. [332] “Psychological Disorder in Adolescents and Adults with Asperger Syndrome”, Digby Tantam, Autism, Vol.4, No.1 (March 2000), p.47. [333] “Psychiatric Comorbidity in Young Adults with a Clinical Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome”, Tove Lugnegard, Maria Hallerback and Christopher Gillberg, Research in Developmental Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, Vol.32, No.5 (September/October 2011), p.1910. [334] “Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health”, Shelley Taylor and Jonathon Brown, Psychological Bulletin, Vol.103, No.2 (March 1988), p.193. [335] “The Folly of Fools”, Robert Trivers, Basic Books, 2011. [336] “Lob der Halbwahrheit: Warum wir so manches verschweigen“, David Nyberg, Junius Verlag, 1994. [337] “The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain”, Tali Sharot, Pantheon Books, 2011. [338] “Anterior Cingulate Cortex, Error Detection, and the Online Monitoring of Performance”, Cameron Carter, Todd Braver, Deanna Barch, Matthew Botvinick, Douglas Noll and Jonathan Cohen, Science, Vol.280, No.5364 (1 May 1998), p.747. [339] “The Contribution of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex to Executive Processes in Cognition”, Cameron Carter, Matthew Botvinick and Jonathan Cohen, Reviews in the Neurosciences, Vol.10, No.1 (1999), p.49. [340] “Learned Predictions of Error Likelihood in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex”, Joshua Brown and Todd Braver, Science, Vol.307, No.5712 (18 February 2005), p.1118. [341] “Cognitive Processes in Depression”, Lauren Alloy, Guilford Press, 1988.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, backpropagation, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, disinformation, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta-analysis, money market fund, Monty Hall problem, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, sunk-cost fallacy, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Unless the “someone” who kicks the machine is us—in which case we’re behaving perfectly normally, given our situations; surely anyone else would do the same. Indeed, we overestimate how likely others are to respond the same way we do—the “false consensus effect.” Drinking students considerably overestimate the fraction of fellow students who drink, but nondrinkers considerably underestimate the fraction. The “fundamental attribution error” refers to our tendency to overattribute others’ behaviors to their dispositions, while reversing this tendency for ourselves. To understand why people act the way they do, we must first realize that everyone sees themselves as behaving normally. Don’t ask what strange, mutant disposition they were born with, which directly corresponds to their surface behavior.