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Emergent Processes : Overcoming Attributional Errors

June 8, 2012  ·  By Zhen Goh

Individuals often partake in simplistic and reductionist ways of attributing causality to events, and/or people’s role and positions within different situations. When people strive to find explanations and reasons for behaviours, they often fall into many traps of bias and errors. These cognitive biases influence our perceptions of causality (and are) distorted by our needs, experience and dispositions. The tendency then is to overstate certain more obvious factors, and ignore the underlying and emergent dynamics - and further impair one’s ability to uncover existing blind spots. However, we exist in systems now so complexly intertwined, that small interventions or moves set off untraceable chains of reactions and in unforeseeable ways - effects are emergent over time, and take place in a dialectic and irreversible fashion. Such simple logic of causality therefore, causes fundamental attributional fallacies in complex systems.

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