Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fatal Conceit

Humans are overconfident creatures. Ninety-four percent of college professors believe they are above average teachers, and 90 percent of drivers believe they are above average behind the wheel. Researchers Paul J.H. Schoemaker and J. Edward Russo gave computer executives quizzes on their industry. Afterward, the executives estimated that they had gotten 5 percent of the answers wrong. In fact, they had gotten 80 percent of the answers wrong.

Read the rest of David Brooks on the fatal conceit here.

[HT: Robinson and Long]


Paul Williams said...

I wish I had the research near me. I understand that people who actually score "above average" on these kinds of surveys tend to self-report as "below average". This disconnect between ability and confidence somehow makes sure that confident (but wrong) voices are heard while less-confident (but correct) voices are heard as "wishy-washy" and generally not worth the attention.

Michael Wade said...


Interesting observation. Think of the meetings in your life where someone was wrong at the top of his voice.