attribution theory

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pages: 190 words: 53,409

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H. Frank

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, attribution theory, availability heuristic, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, experimental subject, framing effect, full employment, hindsight bias, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, labour mobility, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, Paul Samuelson, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, selection bias, side project, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, ultimatum game, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, winner-take-all economy

Baumeister and John Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, New York: Penguin, 2011. 15. Roy Baumeister, quoted by Kirsten Weir, “The Power of Self-Control,” Monitor on Psychology 43.1 (January 2012): 36. 16. K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer, “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance,” Psychological Review 100.3 (1993): 363–406. 17. Attribution theory in psychology attempts to explain how people use information to arrive at causal explanations for events. 18. Bernard Weiner, Achievement Motivation and Attribution Theory, Morris-town, NJ: General Learning Press, 1974. 19. Daniel H. Robinson, Janna Siegel, and Michael Shaughnessy, “An Interview with Bernard Weiner,” Educational Psychology Review (June 1996): 165–74. 20. Jasmine M. Carey and Delroy Paulhus, “Worldview Implications of Believing in Free Will and/or Determinism: Politics, Morality, and Punitiveness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81.2 (April 2013): 130–41. 21.

In almost any field, thousands of hours of hard practice are required to become an expert.16 Hard practice means repeatedly trying and failing before managing to achieve even marginal extensions of skills that you haven’t yet mastered. It’s generally difficult to summon the effort to do that. If you’re focused on luck’s importance, you may be more likely to think of excuses to avoid that effort and instead hope that fate will intervene on your behalf. So if believing that talent and effort are all that matter makes it easier to tackle difficult tasks, then denying luck’s importance may be adaptive. The findings of attribution theory in psychology offer additional support for the possibility that denying luck’s role in success may spur additional effort.17 It’s been shown, for instance, that students are more likely to persist with difficult academic tasks if they view any resulting success as having stemmed primarily from their own abilities and efforts.18 Given that high ability is a persistent personal trait, such beliefs encourage continued hard work in the future.

., 73 Alou brothers, 33 American Dream, the, 4, 145 American Economic Association, 25 American Economic Review, 28, 126, 133, 171 American Enterprise Institute, 127, 171 American Society of Civil Engineers, 87 Anderson, Chris, 47 antlers in bull elk, 116–18, 118 Apotheker, Léo, 53 Apple, 44, 49, 132 Arab Spring, 107 Archilla, Gustavo, 106 artificial intelligence, 70 attention scarcity, 48–49 attribution theory, 77 austerity policies, 134 availability heuristic, 79, 80 baby boomer retirements, 97, 127, 167 Baker Library, 36 Bartlett, Bruce, 90 Bartlett, Monica, 101 Baumeister, Roy, 75 Beatty, Warren, 23 behavioral economics, 69, 70, 96 Bernanke, Ben, 133–35 best seller, xiii, 45 Betamax, 44, 45 birth order effects, 32 birth-date effects: in hockey, 38; in the workplace, 38 Blackstone, 103 Blockbusters, 48 Bloomberg Business, 132 Bonaparte, Napoleon, 7 Boudreaux, Donald, 122 Breaking Bad, 24, 31, 68 British accent, 4 Broderick, Matthew, 24, 68 Brooklyn Dodgers, 142 Brooks, David, 83, 84 Buffett, Warren, 12, 39 Bush, George H.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

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

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Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, 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, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

They can make us behave in ways that—in contrast to the beauty of the metaphor of the invisible hand—make us all worse off (part of the reason why others so disliked the King). And competition itself, part of the life-blood of how markets work, not only drives away profits but can drive out concerns of morality and compassion that may come to be seen as an unaffordable indulgence. Markets Can Make Us Selfish In 1977, Stanford psychologist Lee Ross and some colleagues published a landmark article on attribution theory, which is “concerned with the attempts of ordinary people to understand the causes of the events they witness. It deals with the ‘naïve psychology’ of the ‘man in the street’ as he interprets his own behaviors and the actions of others.” Ross’s central question was, How do we ordinary people judge why others appear selfish or generous, cheerful or grumpy, docile or aggressive? Ross notes at the outset that the “exploration of the [ordinary person’s] shortcomings must start with his general tendency to overestimate the importance of personal . . . factors relative to environmental influences.”3 In other words, we tend to excessively attribute blame and give credit to the person rather than his or her situation.

INDEX Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 167–168 Adfibs.com, 69 adverse selection, 48, 51–55, 57, 59 advertising, as money burning, 70–71 Super Bowl advertising, 70–71 AdWords, 14, 101 Airbnb, 3, 6, 50, 109, 125, 170–172 Akerlof, George, 43–51, 58–59, 64, 112 Alaskoil experiment, 55–57, 58–59 algebraic topology, 44–45 Amazon, 2, 3, 16, 50, 51, 52, 59, 74, 91, 95, 97, 108, 110, 119, 126, 128–129 American Express, 115–116 America’s Second Harvest, 154–160 Amoroso, Luigi, 21 Angie’s List, 120 “animal spirits,” 50 applied theory in economics, 45, 50, 75–76 Arnold, John, 156–158, 160 Arrow, Kenneth, 30–34, 36–37, 40, 76, 117, 180 ascending price English auctions, 83, 100 asymmetric information, 41, 44–55 attribution theory, 177–178 auctions AdWords, 14, 101 auction theory, 82–84 coat hooks, 151–152, 174 design, 14, 101–102 first-price sealed-bid, 86–87, 99–100 first-price (live), 84 internet, 94–97 types of, 81–82 wireless spectrum, 102–103 See also eBay; Vickrey auctions AuctionWeb, 40 Ausubel, Larry, 98 Azoulay, Pierre, 112 Bank of America, 113–115 barriers to entry, in marketplace, 173 baseball posting system, 79–81 Bazerman, Max, 55–57 Becker, Gary, 35, 161–162 Berman, Eli, 67 Berners-Lee, Tim, 41–42 Big Data, Age of, 15 Blu-ray-HD DVD format war, Sony, 125–126 Book Stacks Unlimited, 42–43 Boston public schools, 144–149 Boston University MBA students experiment (Bazerman and Samuelson), 55–57, 58–59 See also Alaskoil experiment bridge design, 141–142 Brown, William P., 83–84 Brownian motion, 28–29 cab drivers, Uber vs., 169–170, 172 Camp, Garrett, 170 candle auctions, 82 capitalism, free-market, 172–173 car service platform, 169–171 cash-back bonus, 116 cash-for-sludge transactions, 167–169 See also Summers, Larry centralized clearinghouses, 140–141 Champagne fairs, 105–106, 126–128 Changi POW camp, 175–177 Le Chatelier, Henry Louis, 29 Le Chatelier’s principle, 29 cheap talk, 62–66, 69 chess, difference between Cold War and, 26 See also poker, bluffing in child labor, 180 cigarettes, as currency in German POW camp, 8–9 Clarke, Edward, 93 Clavell, James, 175 clerkship offers, with federal judges, 140 coat hook, 151–152, 174 Codes of the Underworld (Gambetta), 68 Cold War, difference between chess and, 26 See also poker, bluffing in Collectible Supplies, 128–129 “College Admissions and the Stability of Marriage” (Gale and Shapley), 137 commitment, signs of, 62–63, 69–71, 72–75 community game, 178–179 competition models of, 35, 166, 172–173 platform, 124–126 unethical conduct with, 180–181 “Competition is for Losers” (Thiel), 173 competitive equilibrium, existence of, 29, 31–34, 36–37, 40, 45, 76 competitive markets, 35, 124–126, 172–174, 180–181 See also platforms competitive signaling, 70–71 congestion pricing model, 86, 94 constrained optimization, 85–86, 133 contractorsfromhell.com, 120 copycat competitors, 172–173 corporate philanthropy, 72–75 Cowles, Alfred, 25, 27 Cowles Commission for Research in Economics, 25, 27, 31, 134 “creative destruction,” 50 credit card platforms, 113–116, 123–124 criminal organizations, informational challenges of, 68 currency, at Stalag VII-A POW camp, 8–9 customer feedback, 52, 74–75 Davis, Harry, 154, 157 Debreu, Gérard, 20, 24, 25, 32–33, 36–37 decentralized match, 139–140 deferred acceptance algorithm, 137–141, 145–149 Delmonico, Frank, 164 descending price auctions, 81–82 design, auction, 14, 101–102 Digital Dealing (Hall), 94 Discover card, 115–116 distribution of income, 22 Domar, Evsey, 36–37 Dorosin, Neil, 142–144 Douglas Aircraft Company, 25 Dow, Bob, 1–2 Dow, Edna, 1–2 Drèze, Jacques, 85–86 dumping toxic waste, transactions for, 167–169 Dutch auctions, 81–82 dysfunction, market, 36, 75–77, 143 eBay adverse selection on, 51–55, 57 auction listings, 94–97 concerns on model for, 43, 46, 48 on seller motivation for giving to charities, 73–75 start of, 39–41 as two-sided market, 109, 119 e-commerce, 41–43, 52–55 “The Economic Organization of a P.O.W.


pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova

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attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

Eight years later, Marie Jahoda, one of the earliest pioneers of positive psychology and empirical research into the foundations of mental health—she was a founding director of NYU’s Research Center for Human Relations—defined the healthy psyche as one that could perceive the self as it is in reality, without skewing it to fit a particular image or desire. Accurate perception of reality was one of the six criteria she put forward for full mental health. And in 1967, Harold Kelley, a psychologist who was one of the originators of attribution theory, or the theory of how we ascribe causes to different events, agued that humans were like naïve scientists, striving for truth through unbiased, systematic research. Accurate perceptions, he wrote, made us function at our most effective. Starting in the 1970s, though, that emphasis on accuracy started to shift. As it turns out, not only are we not particularly accurate at how we see ourselves, but that accuracy would be self-defeating: brutal honesty likely wouldn’t allow us to reach our goals.

INDEX AARP ref1, ref2, ref3 Abagnale, Frank ref1 Abbas, Ali ref1 Aberle, Peter ref1 academia ref1 Acker Merrall and Condit ref1 affect heuristic ref1 AIDS ref1 airfare ref1 Albright, Linda ref1 alpha ref1 Alterman, Tyler ref1 Ammon, Robert ref1, ref2 Anastasia, Countess ref1 anchor effects ref1 Andrade, Jimmy ref1 Anfam, David ref1, ref2 Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare), ref1, ref2 ants ref1 anxiety ref1 approach-avoidance model ref1 Arkes, Hal ref1 Armstrong, Lance ref1 art fraud ref1, ref2 Rosales in ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8 Arthur, Harold ref1, ref2 Asahi Shimbun, ref1 Ashkin, Julius ref1 attentional focus ref1 attribution theory ref1 Auster, Paul ref1 authority ref1, ref2, ref3 Axelrod, Robert ref1 Azzopardi, Bruce ref1 Azzopardi, Samantha Lyndell ref1, ref2, ref3 as human trafficking victim ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5 Baby Jessica ref1 Bacon, Francis ref1, ref2 Bailey, William ref1 Bailly, Jean ref1 bait and switch ref1 Baker, Richard Brown ref1 Banbury, Jen ref1 Barbero, Francesca ref1 Bar-Hillel, Maya ref1 Barnum, P.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

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23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

A good discussion of Henri Tajfel’s social identity theory can be found in Roger Brown, Social Psychology (New York: Macmillan, 1986), 584–585. 68 McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Cook, “Birds of a Feather.” 69 A good general discussion of this phenomenon can be found in Martha Augoustinos and Iain Walker, Social Cognition (London: Sage, 2006). Of particular interest are chapter 3, on the essentials of attribution theory, and chapter 9, which applies this to understanding how we interpret both our own groups and others. 70 Ian Rankin, A Question of Blood (London: Orion Books, 2003), 284–285. 71 Peter Carruthers, “Multiple Memory Systems,” in The Architecture of the Mind, ed. Peter Carruthers (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2006), 120–130. 72 E. Tory Higgins, “Saying-Is-Believing Effects: When Sharing Reality About Something Biases Knowledge and Evaluation,” in Shared Cognition in Organizations, ed.


pages: 241 words: 75,516

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, attribution theory, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, framing effect, income per capita, job satisfaction, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, Own Your Own Home, Pareto efficiency, positional goods, price anchoring, psychological pricing, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

.), Handbook of Emotion (New York: Guilford Press, 1993), pp. 261–277; and B.E. Fredrickson, “What Good Are Positive Emotions?” Review of General Psychology, 1998, 2, 300–319. in which two sets of participants S. Iyengar and M. Lepper, “When Choice Is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, 79, 995–1006. Even decisions as trivial For a discussion of self-blame and self-esteem, see B. Weiner, “An Attributional Theory of Achievement Motivation and Emotion,” Psychological Review, 1985, 92, 548–573. their importance to the verbalizer The jam study is from T.D. Wilson and J.S. Schooler, “Thinking Too Much: Introspection Can Reduce the Quality of Preferences and Decisions,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1991, 60, 181–192. The art poster study is from T.D. Wilson, D.J. Lisle, J.S. Schooler, S.D.


pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

When her colleagues did well, it didn’t affect her. There’s no fun in the funeral of a heart patient whose surgery you failed. But every doctor fails sometimes. Seasoned physicians learn to become mentally and emotionally immune to it. They learn to live with the reality that some patients don’t survive. Staats concluded that this coping mechanism was itself responsible for the paradox. He and his colleagues called this attribution theory. The theory says that people explain their successes and failures “by attributing them to factors that will allow them to feel as good as possible about themselves.” Remember what the Startup Funeral founders said? “We ran out of money.” “People didn’t want it.” “The ‘gray hairs’ had no plan.” Look at what they did. They each attributed their companies’ failures to external factors. Things that made them feel better about themselves.


pages: 268 words: 89,761

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

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attribution theory, 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, means of production, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, upwardly mobile

Cholesterol and psychological well-being. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 39:549–62. 1995. Watson, P. Explaining rising mortality among men in Eastern Europe. Social Science and Medicine 41:923–34. 1995. Wennemo, I. Infant mortality, public policy and inequality—a comparison of 18 industrialised countries 1950–85. Sociology of Health and Illness 15:429–16. 1993. Wheaton, B. The sociogenesis of psychological disorder: an attributional theory. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 21:100–23. 1980. Whelan, C.T. The role of income, life-style deprivation and financial strain in mediating the impact of unemployment on psychological distress: evidence from the Republic of Ireland. Unpublished mimeograph from The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, c. 1991. Whelan, C.T. The role of social support in mediating the psychological consequences of economic stress.


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

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Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

The role of group familiarity. Social Influence, 2, 211–235. Segal, H. A. (1954). Initial psychiatric findings of recently repatriated prisoners of war. American Journal of Psychiatry, III, 358–363. Sengupta, J., & Johar, G. V. (2001). Contingent effects of anxiety on message elaboration and persuasion. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 139–150. Settle, R. B., & Gordon, L. L. (1974). Attribution theory and advertiser credibility. Journal of Marketing Research, 11, 181–185. Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Rawsthorne, L. J., & Ilardi, B. (1997). Trait self and true self, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1380–1393. Shelley, M. K. (1994). Individual differences in lottery evaluation models. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 60, 206–230. Shepperd, J.