Attributing the Right Cause

Apr 18 2011 Published by neilgains under context

“There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”  - W.C. Fields

Fundamentally flawed

In What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the effects of the fundamental attribution error (FAE) in several different articles.  For example, in one chapter he discusses the Challenger disaster and the impossibility of having complete control of complex technologies and systems, arguing that attempts to find causes and scapegoats in such situations are futile.  Without acknowledging the FAE, his argument in the chapter touches on the desire of all of us to attribute outcomes, and especially bad outcomes, to specific traits of the people involved rather than the situation they are in. Read more »

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