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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Do You Think That You Are Smarter Than You Really Are?

Do you have too good an Opinion about yourself? It is a very commonly observed attitude in Western society. One study showed that 94% of university professors considered their professional performance above average - something which, statistically, it's almost impossible.

An exaggerated confidence in one's personal skills can adversely affect performance and the decision process. Yet, despite these dangers, which would have to phase in the evolution, individuals with such impulses, over-appreciation of self prove to be a very common phenomenon. How can we explain this persistence?

A study on this subject matter was undertaken by Professor Cameron Anderson and Don Moore of the University of California - Berkeley (USA), Jessica A. Kennedy of the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and Sebastien Brion from the University of Navarra (Spain), results will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

According to their opinion, a great confidence (even unreasonable) helps people to access higher social status. Those who think they are better than others, even if they are more likely to get higher up the social ladder, really end up having more confidence in their skills.

Social status involves respect, prestige and influence enjoyed by an individual among the group which one belongs to. In the labor collectives, for example, the most confident in their own forces tend to be more admired, more listened to, and have more power to influence discussions and decisions in the Group.

Prof. Anderson says that this explains that over-appreciation of self is very common. And all this explains why in certain teams,incompetent people get ahead, at the expense of truly competent colleagues, who are in turn very modest.

The study shows that although confidence may be associated with the existence of real quality to that person, often it is still not a good sign and should be treated with caution, because it can actually hide real lack of competence.

The authors have imagined six experiments to learn why people become overly self-acclaimed and how this affects their climbing of the social ladder.

For example, in one of these experiments, researchers asked 242 students to look through a list that included names of historical figures, historical events, titles of books and poems, and to tick those which are known . But, with real names like Robespierre or Pygmalion, scientists included, without the knowledge of students, some names wholly invented, which did not correspond to any real literary or historical personalities.

Students who have checked most invented names were considered as the most confident in themselves, because their choices showed that they were more educated than others who did not checked the names at all because they doubted such personalities existed.

Later, at the end of the semester, a survey showed that just these individuals with exaggerated opinion of themselves better still had high social status within the group were considered most popular than the others not viewed as overly confident, but just as some great people.

Another experiment showed that these individuals do not manifest themselves annoying, but often spoke, spoke in a tone of confidence, offering more information and answers and behaved calm and relaxed while worked with other group members.

Finally, other experiments have shown that what makes people to be over-confident in their quality is the desire to reach a higher social status.

Two groups of students read a story - a dull, someone who had lost his keys and then find them, and another about a person acquired a new job at a prestigious companies, will serve to promote and ensure a first and a quick way to a position in the company. Each participant was asked to imagine that he is the protagonist provestirii, and then were asked to assess their own intensity of the desire to succeed at a high social status and to complete a questionnaire to assess their own skills and critical thinking, intelligence and teamwork ability.

Those who had read the story about the important job showed a desire to reach "the top" more intense and they also gave their own notes much better, considering his skills as much higher as compared with those who had read the story about lost keys.

Professor Anderson hopes that his study will be helpful, urging people to seek objective evidence of competence and merit in a real person, rather than overestimate the qualities of others based on their exaggerated self-confidence .