After challenging study participants to rank their proficiency in performing 100 different skills, mathematician and ClearerThinking.org founder Spencer Greenberg determined that we're all largely flip-flopping the strength and weaknesses of our "expertise." Greenberg asked people if they believed they would be able to outperform or underperform 50 percent of the other participants at a given task, reports The New York Times. The results are worth bookmarking (or at least a brief LOL).
According to Greenberg's findings, people tend to overestimate their abilities to get animals to like them, drive, win at trivia, kiss, use a computer, and take charge of their emotions. Simultaneously, many people underestimate their capacity to dance, save humanity from an apocalyptic scenario, drive a race car, and recite the alphabet backward, he concluded. (If you take anything from this, please let it be the fact that you're better prepared to battle zombies than to get behind the wheel of your car.)
Take this quiz designed to reveal your Icarus-esque tendencies. When Greenberg studied the results more closely, he found that four specific indications tended to foreshadow overconfidence bias.
Is your overconfidence bias showing? These four indications will tell the truth about your skill set.
1. Conflating a skill with personality or identity. Many of these tendencies were gender normative. For example, women tend to believe they are more empathetic to other people's emotions than other women.
2. The subjectivity of the strength. Lacking objective criteria to judge a situation, people tend to overestimate themselves.
3. Believing that a task is "easy." Convinced that you're basically the Leonardo da Vinci of making sandwiches? I'm not saying you're not, but people tended to be overconfident about less challenging activities. (And vice-versa—people underestimate their skills at things they believe to be difficult.)
4. How confident you are in your experience level. Here's a "no, duh" for you: People tend to gain confidence with practice.
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