The Ripple Effect

Collaboration and the dynamics of giving and taking credit
When we consider what it takes to attain George Meyer’s level of comedic impact, there’s little question that creativity is a big part of the equation. Carolyn Omine, a longtime Simpsons writer and producer, says than Meyer “has a distinct way of looking at the world. It’s completely unique.” Executive produce and show-runner Mike Scully once commented that when he first joined. The Simsons, Meyer “just blew me away. I had done a lot of sitcom work before, but George’s stuff was so different and so original that for a while I wondered if I wasn’t in over my head.” Althugh Meyer’s giving strengthened his reputation in the inner circles of show business, he toiled in anonymity in the outside world. In Hollywood, there’s an easy solution to this problem. Writers gain prominence by claiming credits on as many television episodes as possible, which proves that the ideas and scenes were their brainchild. George Meyer shaped and sculpted more than 300 Simpson’s episodes, but in quiet defiance of Hollywood norms, he’s only credited as a writer or twelve of them. Let’s say you claim responsibility for 55% of the total effort in the relationship. If you’ve perfectly calibrated, your partner will claim responsibility for 45%, and your estimates will add up to 100%. In actuality, psychologist Michael Ross and Firoe Sicoly found that 3 out of every 4 couples add up to significantly more than 100%. Partners overestimate their own contributions. THis is know as the responsibility bias:exaggerating our own contributions relative to others’ imputs. It’s amistake to which takers are especially vulnerable, and it’s partialy driven by the desire to see and present ourselves positively.
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