Friday, July 06, 2007

Attribution bias

Rational is not the normal mode of thought or behavior for human beings. That's just not how we evolved. We are full of behavioral and mental bias.

One of those biases is called the attribution bias. That's a name for the human tendency to take personal credit for any success we may achieve, but to blame outside forces (such as other people) for any failures. It's normal to do that, it's natural, it's the way we think.

And, it's an explanation for the question asked in a two plus two thread, why do we hate donkeys?
Why is it that I get soooo angry while playing someone that hasn't a clue! I should actually be happy while playing a donk because in the long run that is who I get the money from. Yet everytime they suck out after putting their money in way behind it really {censored} pisses me off.
(since two plus two is a family site that apparently targets children, they censor certian words in the posts).

In the case of getting drawn out on the attribution bias might tend to give you the correct attribution when you lose, because the cause of losing the pot is an outside force, the cause is just the particular order of the cards in the deck for this one event. But for those of us who have rage control issues (I was watching a Soprano's DVD last night that dealt with rage) it's much more comfortable to make the attribution somewhere other than an inanimate force like randomness. It's much more satisfying to blame the other guy and give us an object for our rage.

What can you do about it? Two things. One is work really hard at the idea of attribution of events, stop always taking credit for every success and stop trying to find a cause for every failure. The other thing is to go to an anger management class.

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2 Comments:

Blogger DMW said...

hang on. The cause of you losing the pot is that the other guy chose to chase. If he folds then you win the pot.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

That's what I said.

It's his fault. It's always his fault. Things don't just happen. Ask any Young Earth Christian, they'll explain it to you.

10:38 AM  

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