Thursday, March 01, 2012
Learning from Our Success and Others' Failures
Scholars KC Diwas, Bradley Staats, and Francesa Gino have conducted a new study about how we learn and improve (or fail to do so). They examined Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery procedures. Their research shows that individuals (cardiac surgeons in this case) learn more from their own success than the success of others. Moreover, they learn more from others' failures than others' successes. What explains these findings? The scholars argue that we attribute our own success as well as others' failures to internal factors rather than external conditions. When we succeed, we attribute it to our own effort and capabilities. When we fail, we often blame "unexpected external factors or pressures." On the other hand, when others fail, we tend to attribute the outcome to some deficiency on the part of that person (poor effort, planning, skills, etc.). Finally, the study demonstrated that, "Individuals may be more open to reflect on their own failures and learn from them when they have greater experience with success."