Transcript of the podcast:
Speaker 1: Hey, remember those amazing granola bars that we had on the epic hike that we did last summer?
Speaker 2: Yeah, those were so good.
Speaker 1: Well, I think you're going to be pleased. I found some, same ones, at the supermarket. Here, catch.
Speaker 2: Oh, my God. OK, let's eat some right now.
Speaker 1: They're good, but they're not as good as I remember.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Are you sure that they're the same ones?
Speaker 1: Yeah, I'm sure. Same package.
Katy Milkman: Has something like this ever happened to you? Maybe you've spent the day wandering through a beautiful city and worked up a big appetite, and then you sat down for what seemed to be the best meal ever, such a good meal that you went back to the same restaurant eagerly a few days later, but then you were underwhelmed for some reason. Or maybe you've indulged in a glass of store-bought lemonade on a really hot day, and it was the nicest thing you could imagine. But that same drink tasted less fantastic when you went back to it on a cold afternoon.
In this episode, we'll look at the common mistakes we all make when trying to explain certain choices, experiences, and emotions. I'll speak with UCLA professor Kareem Haggag about how our preferences change more than we might expect depending on the physical state we're in.
I'm Dr. Katy Milkman, and this is Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab. It's a show about the psychology and economics behind our decisions. We bring you true stories involving surprising moments, and then we explore how they relate to the latest research in behavioral science. We do it all to help you make better judgements and avoid costly mistakes.
Samantha Futerman: Hi, my name is Samantha Futerman.
Anaïs Bordier: Hi, I'm Anaïs Bordier.
Katy Milkman: Samantha and Anaïs grew up in different parts of the world.
Samantha Futerman: I grew up in Verona, New Jersey. It's in Essex County, 30 to 40 minutes outside New York City. It's pretty small. It's two miles wide, lots of pizza and bagels. It was pretty fun.
Anaïs Bordier: I grew up in the suburbs of Paris in a town called Neuilly-sur-Seine. The streets are pretty wide. It has a lot of trees around and parks, and everything is pretty close, so I could walk from home to school with my mom.
Katy Milkman: They both had loving families, but very different upbringings.
Samantha Futerman: My dad was, I would say, fun, endlessly supportive, and he was really involved and a typical, fun-loving American Jewish father.
Anaïs Bordier: I would say my father is an introvert. He was quite the strict dad, very intense about studies, and so he made me study pretty hard.
Samantha Futerman: My mom was supportive, and she is just the sweetest person in the whole world.
Anaïs Bordier: My mom is a very protective mom, and she wouldn't let anyone get too close to me if they meant something evil. She's very caring.
Samantha Futerman: If you walked into my house on a typical day, you'd probably see me in my room probably practicing singing and dancing, my brother Andrew being yelled at by one of the two parents, and my brother Matt would probably be up playing video games.
We had a lot of animals in the house growing up, a lot of pets. We had a parrot that was very loud, so if someone was yelling, the parrot was also yelling. We had a dog. We had a cat. We also had gerbils and stuff like that. It was definitely a lively home, lots of screaming.
Anaïs Bordier: In my childhood, you would probably see me sitting at my desk, supposed to be working on my homework, but instead I would probably open a magazine, reading articles about cinema or probably drawing something, probably a dress or fashion. Then I would have dinner. My parents would ask if I did my homework. I would say, "Yeah," and then I would probably stay up pretty late to finish all the homework I had to do.
Katy Milkman: Anaïs and Samantha were raised speaking different languages. They lived in very different home environments. They experienced different types of schooling. If you're like me, you'll probably assume these two women with very different upbringings turned out quite differently. After all, where and how you're raised has a huge impact on the person you become. Right? This is where the story gets interesting, though. Samantha and Anaïs share some striking similarities.
Samantha Futerman: I was really into dance, and then that evolved into singing and acting as well. I like to be a little bit more expressive.
Anaïs Bordier: I love music and dancing. Probably you would see me dancing in my room and singing out loud with my parents saying, "You sound ridiculous right now."
Samantha Futerman: My parents would describe me as driven, hyperactive, and annoying. I was very loud, emotional.
Anaïs Bordier: I would get so angry all the time. I think my parents would describe me as temperamental.
Katy Milkman: OK, so they both like dancing and are hot-tempered. So are a lot of people. But there's something else that connects these two women. Their lives intersected in 2012 when Anaïs was studying fashion in London.
Anaïs Bordier: I was just shopping for some fabrics, and then I suddenly received a notification on my Facebook wall saying that someone posted a YouTube video of me. Well, first I thought, "Who posted a video of me?" Then I saw the video and just realized it wasn't actually me. It was some other girl that looked exactly similar to me. I think my mind blanked out for a little while when I first saw the video. I had to replay it probably 10 times before I was actually telling myself, "No, it's a coincidence." When I shared it to my friends, then they were like, "Whoa, you have a doppelganger in America."
Katy Milkman: Anaïs came across another video a few months later. This one led her to an important detail.
Anaïs Bordier: My very good friend, we were taking the bus together. Then just out of the blue, he tells me, "Oh, by the way, I saw the girl again. She was in a trailer for a film called 21 & Over." I just looked on that video trailer and also, of course, looking in the IMDB information about that movie. I saw that she was born on 19th of November in 1987. My heart stopped. 19th of November 1987 is also my birthday.
Katy Milkman: Meanwhile, in an apartment in LA …
Samantha Futerman: I was getting ready for the movie premier of 21 & Over. I was scrolling through my phone, and I saw a notification pop up on my Facebook, and it said one new message. Then I went to check out who sent it, and when I click on it, it's like, "Oh, that's me." I looked at it, I was like, "Oh, no, that's not a picture of me. It just looks a lot like me." Then I saw born 19th of November 1987. I was like, "Huh, this is too wild." My instinct was just to send a screenshot of my birth records that I had, which looking back was not the best choice probably to do to a stranger. I don't recommend doing that, but that's all I sent back. Then I remember her replying, "OK. Oh, my God. I'm going home this weekend. I'm going to find a copy of my birth records, and I'll send them to you, too."
Katy Milkman: Samantha and Anaïs scheduled a video call with each other after a few days.
Samantha Futerman: I remember when the page was loading, because it was Skype, and then what happens is it's just you, and then boom—it splits into two.
Oh, my God. Wait. Oh, you're all blurry.
Anaïs Bordier: Oh, I'm sorry. My connection is really bad.
Samantha Futerman: Oh, my God. You're European! Hi.
Anaïs Bordier: This is a really weird experience.
Samantha Futerman: Yeah, so weird.
Katy Milkman: It was looking in a mirror.
Samantha Futerman: I remember seeing her and being like, "Oh my God, this is freaking nuts!"
Then she giggled. I think that's a moment where everything hit me because it was an echo. Her laugh was exactly the same as mine, her little chuckles and everything.
Anaïs Bordier: I think that's the main thing was seeing both our faces and hear our laughter because I think this is something that all my friends always said is that my loud laugh was very clear. And then I finally found someone that had exactly the same laugh.
Samantha Futerman: I think that's the moment I was like, "Oh, this is really happening." And then I was fixated. I couldn't stop staring at her.
Anaïs Bordier: We talked for a very long time. And that's how I knew how weird it was to feel connected to someone that you've never met your entire life. And that's a total stranger, but somehow it felt like we knew each other forever.
Katy Milkman: They spoke nearly every day from then on. They wanted to meet in person. So Samantha flew to London where Anaïs was attending school. They rented an Airbnb apartment and decided to meet there. Samantha got there first and sat on the sofa, waiting.
Samantha Futerman: When she finally walked in, I just lost it. Space and time no longer were a thing. Seeing her walk in the room, I had no words. I couldn't speak. I think I broke out into an awkward fit of laughter.
Anaïs Bordier: It felt so surreal. We had the same nail polish as well.
Samantha Futerman: That was really bizarre. It was like bluish?
Anaïs Bordier: Sky blue.
Samantha Futerman: Yeah.
Anaïs Bordier: Yeah.
Samantha Futerman: It was Tiffany blue. Like that tealish blue. I knew it. I knew that we were twins. But I guess there's always this part of my brain that's trying to protect me and saying, "Oh, it could not be true." We had done a DNA test. We sent in the tests before we had met. We wanted to meet first, and then we were going to get those results later that night.
Katy Milkman: The DNA test results showed that Samantha and Anaïs had the exact same genetic makeup. They were identical twins. They were born in Busan, South Korea, and had been separated at birth. They had been adopted into two different families, thousands of miles apart. Their adoption papers indicated that they had no siblings. So their adoptive families had no idea they each had a twin. Yet somehow Samantha and Anaïs found themselves on similar life paths.
Samantha Futerman: It's like our trajectory was always the same, but it ended up manifesting in a different way. We both knew that we didn't want to have office jobs for us. Everything would always be a creative venue. We needed to express ourselves.
Katy Milkman: Both Samantha and Anaïs pursued creative interests. Samantha became a professional actor in Hollywood. Anaïs might have followed a similar path, but she found it difficult to get roles in France.
Anaïs Bordier: I've always been obsessed with cinema and always reading a lot. I would know every movie that would come out, and at the end of that magazine, there was always a lot of little adverts for auditions. And I remember reading all of them, trying to see if I would fit in. And of course, no. But I remember being so excited about it. I would've loved doing this.
Katy Milkman: Samantha and Anaïs took a personality test soon after they met in 2013 at the Twins Studies Center at California State University. The results proved they had a lot in common. Their scores for creativity and competitiveness were very close. Their scores for comprehension, planning, and self-control were identical.
Samantha Futerman: Our strengths and weaknesses were exactly the same. Math was not our strength for both of us, definitely. And it was, I think the visual processing was both pretty high for both of us.
Anaïs Bordier: Also hearing our parents exchange about our temper tantrums and stuff like this. It's all the odd similarities before we met. I think we are getting accustomed to each other now, but before, yeah, that's weird.
Katy Milkman: They also have the same quirky pet peeves.
Samantha Futerman: We both hate cooked carrots, but carrot soup's fine.
Anaïs Bordier: The shower curtain, when it touches you, it's gross.
Samantha Futerman: Yeah. The same things tend to annoy us. The holes on the bottom of a crumpet are like really perturbing. It makes us both really uncomfortable.
Katy Milkman: Samantha and Anaïs have had the past 10 years to get to know each other. Samantha is an actor in LA, and Anaïs is back home in France, working in fashion design and raising her two-year-old son. They're now in their 30s and often think about how finding each other has shifted their sense of identity.
Anaïs Bordier: I think what I had in mind is 60% of environmental influence and 40% part of your DNA. And since I've met my long-lost twin sister, I definitely could see that it's reversed.
Samantha Futerman: I think as an adoptee, I want to attribute so much of who I am to my parents. And I want to say like, "Oh, they did such a great job. And I love my parents so much. And I'm so much like them." But I think after we met, I realized how much of who we are is really instilled in our DNA. And I think seeing Anaïs' son makes me even more aware of how much of who we are is like already kind of predisposed, in a way.
My name is Samantha Futerman. I am a Korean-American adoptee and a twin who was separated at birth.
Anaïs Bordier: I'm Anaïs Bordier. I'm a French-Korean adoptee, and I'm a twin separated at birth. Did I just copy you?
Katy Milkman: Samantha Futerman and Anaïs Bordier are featured in the documentary film Twinsters. You heard several clips from the film courtesy of Samantha and Small Package Films. You can find a link to the documentary in the show notes and at schwab.com/podcast.
In the first half of that story, you might have assumed that Samantha's penchant for acting was largely due to her upbringing, or that her laugh was learned from her rambunctious household, or that Anaïs' love of music and dance came entirely from the family environment or cultural environment where she was raised.
Of course, how and where someone is raised is very important. But the ways in which certain aspects of Samantha's and Anaïs' personalities and talents and tastes are independent of their upbringing, is what's revealed through their story. Their childhood tempers, their distaste for cooked carrots, their love of the movies, their laughs, all of these were likely influenced by their DNA far more than you might have initially expected and far more than they appreciated before meeting.
You heard Anaïs speculate that she thought her upbringing accounted for 60% of her personality and preferences and DNA accounted for 40%. But that ratio flipped in her mind when she discovered that she was a twin. Of course, there's no simple known formula yet to accurately estimate how much of who we are is due to nature and how much is due to nurture. My colleague and collaborator Angela Duckworth likes to say her best guesstimate from reading the research is that it's about half nature and half nurture that we can blame for a shocking number of traits. Regardless, it's clear that Anaïs over-ascribed her personality and preferences to her upbringing and under-ascribed them to her DNA until she met Samantha.
It's actually extremely common for us to misattribute the causes of certain behaviors, events, and even emotions. When the causal chain is complex, we're prone to make what psychologists call attribution errors in our attempt to understand the world. And we do it often without being aware of the processes and biases that lead to our inferences.
For example, you might blame a disappointing vacation on the destination when unseasonably bad weather was the real culprit, or a student might blame a teacher for a low grade but discount their own poor study habits. There are several types of attribution errors. The most famous was the focus of a previous Choiceology episode and is aptly named the fundamental attribution error. It describes our tendency to heap excessive blame for people's actions on their dispositions while neglecting the powerful tug of their situations.
The person who cuts you off on the freeway is surely a jerk. At least, that's where your mind goes immediately, rather than to the possibility that they're facing an emergency or the kids in the back of their car distracted them. Attribution biases take many forms though, and the fundamental attribution is just one.
Another common attribution error arises when you mistake the source of a strong emotion. Say you arrive home after a tough day at work only to find yourself arguing with your spouse about something trivial, like the dirty dishes they left in the sink. You attribute your anger or frustration to those dirty dishes, when you're really just still grumpy over what went wrong in the office. If you've ever argued with a hangry toddler who insists they don't need a snack and that's not why they're throwing things, then you'll be familiar with just how frustrating misattribution of emotions can be. In this episode, I want to dive a little deeper into the research on a type of attribution bias I find fascinating with Kareem Haggag, who's written some terrific papers on how misattributions can cloud our assessments of vacations, our choices of college majors, and even contort our understanding of the simple pleasures we get from food and drinks. Kareem Haggag is an assistant professor of behavioral economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Hi, Kareem. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Kareem Haggag: Hi, Katy. Thanks for inviting me.
Katy Milkman: I'm really excited to have you here to talk a little bit about attribution bias, and I was hoping we could just start with the basics. Could you define the type of attribution bias you've studied?
Kareem Haggag: Sure. So it's often the case that the amount of enjoyment we get out of consuming a product or experience depends on what state we happen to be in, states like our hunger, thirst, fatigue, or even what the weather is like. So, for example, food is tastier when you're hungry. Driving a convertible is more enjoyable when it's sunny versus cold and rainy. And listening to an academically dense podcast perhaps is best when you don't have a headache or are fatigued. And the standard economic model can account for the fact that our preferences move with our underlying states. However, a large body of research in psychology and behavioral economics suggest that we may fail to appreciate the extent to which our preferences change with those states, and that can lead to misattributions. So attribution bias and misattributions have been used to refer to a number of related phenomena within psychology.
So I'll go ahead and give a definition of what we're looking at. So the basic idea is that when judging the value of a good, people tend to be overly influenced by the state in which they previously consumed it. So it might be helpful to give an illustrative example. So imagine you went to a new restaurant for the very first time after working up a large appetite. You were really hungry. You're probably going to enjoy the food more than if you went when you were less hungry. But the error that creeps in is later when you reflect on that experience, you may fail to realize that the reason that you liked the food so much was because you were so hungry. So you may misattribute the influence of that temporary heightened hunger to how good the food usually is or the stable quality of the restaurant. And so later when you try to recommend the restaurant to friends or you think about going back, you may overrate the restaurant or go back and be disappointed.
Katy Milkman: That was incredibly clear and I kind of want you to come and teach my class at Wharton because that was much clearer than the way I describe attribution bias. So could you talk a little bit about your research showing that attribution bias affects consumer judgements?
Kareem Haggag: Yeah. So I have a couple of papers on attribution bias. So the first paper I wrote was on attribution bias in consumer choice context. So we did this both with beverages as well as with vacation choices. I'll tell you about the beverage example. So, we ran a couple of experiments. We tried to vary the underlying states someone had while they were sampling this new product. So we first varied people's thirst levels, as we thought that was the underlying state that might be most relevant to how much someone enjoys a beverage. So we randomly assigned some people to drink three cups of water and another group to drink half a cup of water. So we had a thirsty group and then a not so thirsty group. Then we had them put together a new drink, it was sort of a makeshift Orange Julius, and then we had them try it.
So we verified, in fact, that the people who were thirsty enjoyed drinking that drink more than the people who weren't thirsty. We followed up with them a few days later and surprised them with a follow-up survey, and we asked them how likely they would be to make this drink again in the future. And so we find that's where the misattribution creeps in. So the people who were randomly assigned to be thirsty in that first sampling experience now report more demand for the drink in the future than the people who are randomly assigned to not be thirsty in their first experience.
Katy Milkman: That's so interesting. So basically, "I was parched. I loved the beverage as a result, and I don't appropriately discount my enthusiasm and realize it was just because I was so darn thirsty. I think this is the world's greatest Orange Julius, have to have it again." Great. I love it. I know you have another really interesting study showing that attribution bias can even change what majors college students are interested in pursuing. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Kareem Haggag: We wanted to test this in maybe a higher-stakes context. And so in this project we examined whether this type of bias shows up when students are choosing their college major. And this is important because it's a choice that can potentially shape their happiness in college, their subsequent career in earnings, and much more. And at many universities, students have a key point in which they get their first taste of a subject, which is during a required intro class. And so we explored whether students might be making these sorts of misattributions during these intro classes. So our hypothesis was that students who were assigned to an early morning section of a class or to multiple back-to-back classes might mix up how tired they are in that class with how much they like the subject—thus leading them to be less likely to choose the subject as their major.
In other words, students might end up confusing the state they were in with sort of the quality of the major. So now this is tricky to study because in many colleges, students can choose when to take their classes, and that's why doing this at West Point, or the U.S. Military Academy, is great. Because at West Point, students are essentially randomly allocated to class times across pretty standardized core curriculum, which allows us to compare students assigned to different timings for their courses without worrying about, for example, them putting their least favorite classes in the morning. So we find that students randomly assigned to the first-period 7:30 a.m. section are about 10% less likely to choose the corresponding major compared to a student who takes that class later in the day. So you're assigned to 7:30 a.m. Chem 101, you're about 10% less likely to become a chemistry major.
Katy Milkman: I love this finding, and I have to tell you, as an instructor, it also resonates because I have on occasion taught quite early in the morning. I find it useful. I have a young kid, and I get him out the door, and then I rush off and I teach an 8:30 a.m. MBA class. And systematically, my teaching ratings are lower in my early morning sections, even though I'm teaching the same material. So anyway, thank you for giving me an excuse besides that I'm groggy in the morning. I think it's just that my students misattribute their grogginess to my teaching. At any rate, I love this finding. It's really interesting. It's a really amazing demonstration of how big of an effect this seemingly small bias can have on our lives. And it brings me to my next question, which is why is it that we're so bad at correctly adjusting our beliefs when we face a situation, and our experience is shaped not by our true preferences, but by being hot or having it be rainy or being sleep deprived? Why can't we adjust?
Kareem Haggag: I think this relates to sort of a broader psychology on anchoring and adjustment. We anchor on what our experience is in the moment, and we just don't fully adjust sufficiently. So even though we have a lot of experience with these underlying states, it's just really hard to adjust for it. So I find this in my own life often. It's just very difficult to fully parse it, even when the state is very salient to me.
Katy Milkman: You mentioned finding this in your own life. I'm curious about settings in your own life where you feel like this comes up because I know our listeners will be interested in where they should be on the lookout for this bias and learning from your experience.
Kareem Haggag: So when I started working on this project, it was, I think, either right before or during the month of Ramadan, which is the month in which Muslims fast. And I had this sort of common experience of fasting all day long. And then particularly in grad school, we would go out to a new restaurant or to a friend's place, and they'd make a new dish, and it's always the most amazing meal after being hungry all day. And then, after the month ends, I think about what restaurants to go to, and there's this list of amazing restaurants, and I go back and invariably I'm disappointed by the quality of the food there.
Katy Milkman: That's a fascinating example. Did that motivate this work?
Kareem Haggag: To some extent, yeah. It came up as we were brainstorming ideas.
Katy Milkman: What a cool way to come to a research project, and what a nice illustration of how important it is that researchers have different backgrounds and different experiences and that those are motivating the research questions. I feel like our field is richer for it in so many ways, and that's a really cool example.
Kareem Haggag: Thanks. Yeah, another example is just this past weekend, I went backpacking in Yosemite for the first time. I'm not a backpacker. I'm not a regular hiker. But I went with some friends who knew what they were doing, and we got these dehydrated meals, and pretty far into a pretty standardized hike we pulled out these dehydrated meals, boiled some water, and put it in there. And it was the most amazing meal I've ever had, this chicken and dumplings meal. And it crept into my mind for a moment, maybe I should actually get some of these dehydrated meals and keep them around the house when I don't have other food. But I think that's probably a misattribution. I think they probably don't taste as good after not having done a strenuous hike. That just, again, illustrates how hard it is to know, because I've never had one of these meals when I wasn't so hungry.
In terms of maybe one more example, if you're doing, let's say you're trying some new exercise at the gym, and if you happen to put it at the end of your workout, you might misattribute how difficult or enjoyable it is to do that exercise to how tired you are at the end of that workout. And so I would encourage you in a domain like that where it's easy to re-sample the exercise, the next time you'd go to the gym, you can try the exercise at the beginning of your workout just to calibrate how much a role your fatigue had maybe played in that evaluation.
Katy Milkman: I love that advice. What do you do differently in your life now that you know about this? It sounds like you don't buy dehydrated meals after a delicious experience on a hike, but what are some of the ways that you live differently, in general, as a result of knowing about this?
Kareem Haggag: So I would say that if it is easy to think about the underlying state I might have been in at a time, so if I met someone for the first time and I had a bad headache, I reflect later on how that might have played a role in my judgment of how engaging the conversation was. Or if I knew that I sampled something and I was not in the best state for it, I try to go out and sample it again when I'm in a different state before maybe giving that recommendation. So if I try a restaurant after being incredibly hungry, maybe I try it again in a regular state of hunger before going out and singing its praises to everybody.
I think from a more administrative perspective, maybe I now am a little bit more sensitive to the role of timing. So if it's possible for me to choose not to teach a class early morning, not only for my own sake but also for the students, I perhaps try to take a later time of day. So if it's possible to time the consumption experience or the experience somebody has better, I try to do that.
Katy Milkman: Kareem, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today about attribution bias. This has been fascinating, and I really appreciate it.
Kareem Haggag: Thanks, Katy.
Katy Milkman: Kareem Haggag is an assistant professor of behavioral economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. You can find links to his research on attribution bias in the show notes and at schwab.com/podcast.
A common attribution error in finance is attributing successful trades to skill and unsuccessful trades to bad luck or forces outside your control. And while you can't always escape that instinct, you can work to learn from your errors. Check out the Financial Decoder episode titled "How Can You Learn from Your Trading Mistakes?" to hear more. You can find it at schwab.com/financialdecoder or wherever you get your podcasts.
Because the world feeds us messy information, it's often hard to assign blame properly for our behaviors and feelings. This applies to everything from understanding the impact of your family on your personality to comprehending the reason you loved an Orange Julius or hated introductory college chemistry. And the implications can be even larger than the examples in this episode might call to mind. A misattribution made at the negotiating table could start a war. A misattribution in a job interview could make or break your career. And I haven't even mentioned dating, home buying, or health decisions. Beating back attribution errors is a challenge but Kareem Haggag's research has led him to ask some extra questions in the hope of debiasing himself whenever he experiences delight or dismay with a new person, product, or experience.
He considers, is it really this meal? Is it really this new exercise? Or could there be another explanation? He probes other possibilities, considering, was it how hungry I was or how tired I was? Was the vacation great because the hotel was extraordinary or because the weather was out of this world? Was that date magnificent because of the person across the table from me, or was it the wine? Just asking these skeptical questions when you're judging something based on a limited set of experiences is a good start. A next step is to re-sample that food, beverage, hotel, exercise, date, or subject under different circumstances before jumping to conclusions you just might come to regret.
You've been listening to Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab. If you've enjoyed the show, we'd be really grateful if you'd leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. You can also follow us for free in your favorite podcasting app. And if you want more of the kinds of insights we bring you on Choiceology about how to improve your decisions, you can order my book, How to Change, or sign up for my monthly newsletter, Milkman Delivers, at katymilkman.com/newsletter. I'm Dr. Katy Milkman. Talk to you soon.
Speaker 7: For important disclosures, see the show notes or visit schwab.com/podcast.
After you listen
A common attribution error in investing is attributing successful trades to skill and unsuccessful trades to bad luck or forces outside your control. And while you can't always escape that instinct, you can work to learn from your errors.
When we feel angry or excited, or happy or sad, the reasons for those emotions may seem obvious. Angry? It was that argument with a spouse. Excited? It was that promotion at work. Happy? Must've been that delicious meal. Sad? It was that tearjerker film, for sure. But it turns out that we often mistake the root causes of our feelings and other experiences.
In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a family of biases that affects the way we understand behaviors, events, and emotions.
Samantha Futerman and Anaïs Bordier grew up in different parts of the world. They were raised speaking different languages. They lived in very different home environments. They experienced different types of schooling. You'd probably assume these two women with very different upbringings turned out quite differently. After all, where and how you're raised has a big impact on the person you become. Surprisingly though, Samantha and Anaïs share some uncanny similarities.
Anaïs Bordier is a French designer and brand manager based in Paris. She was also a producer for the film Twinsters.
Next, Katy speaks with Kareem Haggag about how our preferences change, more than we might expect, depending on the physical state we're in. You'll hear about how early morning classes may affect the choice of a college major and how your perceptions of a restaurant may be substantially influenced by your hunger level.
Kareem Haggag is an assistant professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. You can read his research on attribution bias and other topics on his website.
Finally, Katy offers tips on how to "debias" yourself and avoid the traps of misattribution, based on Kareem Haggag's findings.
Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab.
If you enjoy the show, please leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts.
More from Charles Schwab
All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions.
The comments, views, and opinions expressed in the presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of Charles Schwab.
Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.
Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
All corporate names are for illustrative purposes only and are not a recommendation, offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security.
The book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (CS&Co.). Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (CS&Co.) has not reviewed the book and makes no representations about its content.
Apple Podcasts and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Google Podcasts and the Google Podcasts logo are trademarks of Google LLC.
Spotify and the Spotify logo are registered trademarks of Spotify AB.0922-2AA0