When my wife can’t find her keys, I assume it is because she is careless. When I can’t find my keys I naturally put it down to bad luck. The curious thing is that she always assumes the opposite – that she’s the one with the bad luck, and I’m the careless one.
When we observe other people we attribute their behaviour to their character rather than to their situation – my wife’s carelessness means she loses her keys, your clumsiness means you trip over, his political opinions mean that he got into an argument. When we think about things that happen to us the opposite holds. We downplay our own dispositions and emphasise the role of the situation. Bad luck leads to lost keys, a hidden bump causes trips, or a late train results in an unsuccessful job interview – it’s never anything to do with us!
I had to think about the keys issue for a few minutes. Guilty to some degree. I keep my keys in one place. I never forget my keys. I do not get people who cannot find their keys. Though I do not always think they are clueless or disorganized. Sometimes I have thought they are more emotionally secure compared to my obsessiveness.
To only see other people’s behavior in terms of our perceptions is to some degree living in the bubble. We all do it. Though I tend to think that the degree of the bubble matters. He does not get into how the phenomenon of summing up situations varies by person, but he does dive well into why people attribute their behavior to their character rather than to their situation do.
The fundamental attribution error is just a continuation of a wider pattern: we blame individuals for what happens to them because of the general psychological drive to find causes for things. We have an inherent tendency to pick out each other as causes; even from infancy, we pay more attention to things that move under their own steam, that act as if they have a purpose. The mystery is not that people become the focus of our reasoning about causes, but how we manage to identify any single cause in a world of infinite possible causes.
This is psychology, but it should also be examined through the lens of sociology. The attrition error can be seen as a trend. Some people display different aspects, some people display different intensities, others may vary in frequency , while still others may only have it to an appreciable degree in regards certain aspects of life. Some people disregard science because it’s findings are sometimes in conflict with strongly held beliefs. Others may have feelings they need to sort out as science brings them new information, but they do not feel particularly disoriented by new information that conflicts with old attrition. This is not to diminish the reality of the attrition error. We see it everyday. A person will claim that they just know that A is the cause of Z. Some people cannot draw you a line between their conclusion and connecting facts, while other can weave some imaginative, if not clever strands of connection. This can have a huge impact on the micro-social scale in terms of family or friendships and on the macro-social scale in terms of public health, environmental, economic well-being and education policy.
If you’re eight years old and keep working those math problems people will admire your tenacity. If you’re in your fifties, suddenly laid off from a job you’re had for twenty years and get up everyday to make an effort at getting your life back together, people will admire your tenacity. If you keep dredging up the same lie for years. Each time adding a new coat of bullshit, people might wonder about your lack of integrity. Fox News Inflates Impact Of Bush Tax Cuts
Fox News anchor Jon Scott claimed the Bush tax cuts generated growth and substantially increased revenue. In fact, economists say the Bush tax cuts produced anemic growth at best while creating substantial budget deficits that persist to this day.
[ ]…Former Reagan Economist Bruce Bartlett: “The 2001 Tax Cut Did Nothing To Stimulate The Economy.” In a post on The New York Times’ Economix blog, economist Bruce Bartlett — a former adviser to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush — wrote that not only did the Bush tax cuts fail to stimulate the economy, but contrary to Scott’s claim that revenue “jumped substantially” during the Bush years, it actually fell as a percentage of GDP.
We’re not having a debate about taxes and the economy. The world of Fox News is about a set of beliefs. Like all dogma they are faith-based. Ever argued with a fundamentalist of any stripe about their dogma. The far Right conservatives and libertarians worships at the altar of low to no taxes. They’re the modern welfare queens. As someone once said taxes are the price one pays for civilization and most conservatives have little regard for modern enlightened civilization, much less paying for it. They dream of a return to a land of rainbows and unicorns, the garden of no-tax Eden where trash magically disappeared, children’s health problems could be chased away with a spell, special potions meant people never got old or disabled and there was no need for science or technology. Everyone bathed in the pixie dust of perfect destiny and free Hellfire missiles.
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