Why We Blame Others but Not Ourselves

The psychological phenomenon known as fundamental attribution error describes our tendency to locate the cause of mistakes outside ourselves yet blame others personally. 

What's the Latest Development?

Psychologists have long observed that people assign very different causes to human behavior, depending on whether you are explaining your own actions or the actions of someone else. The phenomenon is called fundamental attribution error and works like this: When you lose your house keys, you have a tendency to locate the cause outside yourself—a busy work schedule, plain bad luck, etc. But when your partner loses his or her keys, our tendency is to explain the error in terms of their personality—they are disorganized, they are forgetful, etc. So what motivates us to explain the same exact event in such different terms?

What's the Big Idea?

While assessing cause and effect is natural behavior, it is more complicated than it sounds. Imagine someone sleeping under a tree. A leaf falls from a branch and lands on their forehead. The person awakes saying "Yikes!" We might assume the leaf woke the person, but perhaps an ant bit their arms, or perhaps they are awaking from a nightmare. In philosophical parlance, the cause of an event is an assumption, not a thing in itself. "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."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Biohacking: Why I'll live to be 180 years old

From computer hacking to biohacking, Dave Asprey has embarked on a quest to reverse the aging process.

  • As a teenager, founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, began experiencing health issues that typically plague older adults.
  • After surrounding himself with anti-aging researchers and scientists, he discovered the tools of biohacking could dramatically change his life and improve his health.
  • He's now confident he'll live to at least 180 years old. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
Keep reading Show less