Weekly I/O #18
Attribution Traps, Feedback, Naked offering Shirts, Knowledge and Wisdom, Measurement for Importance
Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.
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The below is extracted from the email sent on Mar 28, 2021
1. Why did they do that? Three Attribution Traps: Fundamental Attribution Error, Actor-Observer Bias, and Self-Serving Bias
Online Course: Learn Social Psychology
In social psychology, attribution is the process of inferring the causes of behaviors. We attribute the behaviors to some causes. For example, when we failed on a quiz, we might think that we are just too stupid or we might blame the teacher for not teaching well.
There are two types of attributions: Dispositional Attributions (Internal) and Situational Attribution (External).
Dispositional Attributions is that we explain a person’s behavior as being caused by internal characteristics. In other words, it is caused by something about the person. For example, when you see a guy bowling, you may think he’s a guy who likes bowling.
Conversely, Situational Attribution is that we explain a person’s behavior as being caused by external circumstances. That is, it is caused by something about the situation. For example, when you see a guy bowling, you may think his friends made him go bowling tonight.
In general, studies find out that people tend to overestimate the impact of dispositional attributions and underestimate the impact of situational attributions, which in social psychology is called The Fundamental Attribution Error.
Another two biases that people tend to have are Actor-Observer Bias and Self-Serving Bias. Actor-Observer Bias is referring to the tendency that people make dispositional attributions for others and situational attributions for themselves. Self-Serving Bias is referring to the tendency that people make dispositional attributions to success and situational attributions for failure. However, sometimes when people are depressed or have low self-esteem, their attribution style can be flipped.
There are a lot of phenomena that can be explained by these tendencies. Let me know if you have some interesting examples!
2. When looking for honest feedback, ask for a 0–10 score and then ask how to get closer to a 10.
This tweet is from Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and the youngest tenured professor at the Wharton School.
The original tweet is “When people hesitate to give honest feedback on an idea, draft, or performance, I ask for a 0–10 score. No one ever says 10. Then I ask how I can get closer to a 10. It motivates them to start coaching me — and motivates me to be coachable. I want to learn how to close the gap.”
I should definitely use this technique to get more honest feedback on my writing and perhaps learning. Please don’t be surprised if I start to ask for a 0–10 score on the newsletter for the following weeks 😆
3. “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” — Maya Angelou
4. “Knowledge is discovered collectively, wisdom is rediscovered individually.” — Naval
This reminds me of what Terry Crews talked about the difference between intelligence and wisdom in the book Tribe of Mentors.
Intelligence is different from wisdom. There’re intelligent killers, but no wise ones. Intelligence is like following a GPS route into the water until you drown. Wisdom looks at the route, but when it takes a turn into the ocean, decides not to follow and finds a new and better way.
Therefore, we know that knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom are not always the same thing, and maybe rarely the same thing.
5. “One can measure the importance of a scientific work by the number of earlier publications rendered superfluous by it.” — David Hilbert
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