Study shows why we should be overconfident and self-deluded

Posted on May 31, 2016

The study's first author, Dr Cameron Anderson, "Our studies found that overconfidence helped people attain social status. People who believed they were better than others, even when they weren’t, were given a higher place in the social ladder. And the motive to attain higher social status thus spurred overconfidence.” The findings can also explain why at work the incompetent are so often promoted over their more competent peers. Dr Anderson continues, "In organizations, people are very easily swayed by others’ confidence even when that confidence is unjustified. Displays of confidence are given an inordinate amount of weight."

Across a series of six experiments the researchers tested several aspects of their theory and found that overconfident individuals did indeed manage to gain the highest social status just by being overconfident.

However, Dr Anderson clarifies that, "“This overconfidence did not come across as narcissistic... They simply participated more and exhibited more comfort with the task — even though they were no more competent than anyone else."

The final two studies revealed that desiring status actually caused people to be more overconfident.

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Source material from PsyBlog


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