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The Daily Decision-35-Fundamental attribution error

The Daily Decision-35-Fundamental attribution error

Hello Hello This is Dr. Z, Zachary Brooks, with The Daily Decision

because you want to make better decisions.



Today is the THIRTIETH-FIFTH episode of The Daily Decision

Your teacher returns assignments you and to the other students seated to the left and to the right of you. To the left you see a big “A” circled. To the right you see a big “D” circled.

What do you think?

If you’re like most people (and you are), you are likely to ascribe good behaviors to the person receiving an A and bad behaviors to the person receiving a C.

Why is that? It’s based on attribution theory which the tendency to explain someone’s behavior in terms of personality or situation. In this case, you would say their good grades have to do with their personality.

But what if you found out later that the person who received the A cheated and the person who received the D just had a death in the family?

How would you feel then?

If you noticed that you switched your explanations from personality to the situation, you’ve made the mistake most of us do which is to make the fundamental attribution error.

It’s hard for me to accept that someone who cuts me off in traffic because the easy thought is that the driver is a bad person.

But maybe they are having a bad day. Could it be?

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Check out Dr. Z’s other programs such as the People Behind the PhDs, Organ Oracles, Leaders on the Line, all based on the 6A philosophy by Dr. Z, that’s me.

 As always, Happy Deciding.

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About Dr. Z Podcasts

The mission of Dr. Z Podcasts is to find, record, and share stories about humans engaged in one of the 6As* of life.

*6As = athletics, adventure, academics, art, advocacy, human algorithm. The 6As is the name of the book I am writing and the foundation for Dr. Z Podcasts.

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About Dr. Z

Thanks for visiting my site. My name is Zachary Brooks, the “Z” behind “Dr. Z.” Enjoy the content and please send me questions and comments. *I earned a doctorate in Second Language Acquisition with concentrations in cognitive science and management from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Z Zachary S Brooks
Dr. Z Zachary S Brooks

Other Dr. Z Programs


Bilingual Decision Making

  • In the Bilingual Decision Making podcasts, Dr. Z returns to his dissertation topic to explore and share research on how one’s language and culture affect decision making.

People Behind the PhDs

  • Science is driven by people which is why in People Behind the PhDs, Dr. Z interviews the people who have PhDs, their journey to earning PhDs, and their scientific and social research.

Win or Learn

  • Not accomplishing goals is a big part of life which creates opportunities for learning. In Win or Learn, we interview the people given an opportunity to learn after not achieving a goal.


  • Since I’m doing a podcast, I might as well make an “about” section with a Podcast.I call it “About-ish” which is about me, more or less.

Human Algorithm

  • Humans have it within them to change their own lives and lives of millions of others. Doubt it? Think of every advance in human history and you will realize the power of human algorithms.

Daily Decision

  • In The Daily Decision, Dr. Z delivers you a one-minute podcast on one decision making topic because you want to make better decisions.

Leaders on the Line

  • In Leaders on the Line, we explore technical problems and adaptive challenges various leaders face in business and politics. Every show has a theme such as “success,” “team,” or “strategy” in which Dr. Z and a guest do a deep dive into case studies to uncover gold.

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