‘Intellectually arrogant’ are known to get rewarded at work

  • IANS, New York
  • Updated: Oct 07, 2015 17:14 IST
A study has found that when it comes to performing better at the workplace showing some “intellectual arrogance” will help you get better visibility and treatment. (Shutterstock)

Ever had a kid in your class who used to put up his hand every time a teacher asked a question? Or a co-worker who is always in the good books of your boss? Sure you have, here is why these people are always the teacher’s/boss’s favourite.

A study has found that when it comes to performing better at the workplace or even on the academic front, showing some “intellectual arrogance” and not “intellectual humility” will help you get better visibility and treatment, says a surprising study.

According to researchers, being full of oneself when it came to rating one’s intellectual arrogance -- an exaggerated view of intellectual ability and knowledge -- instead generally predicted achievement in education, the workplace and scientific research.

“One possibility is that people who view themselves as intellectually arrogant know what they know and that translates to increases in academic performance,” said researcher Wade C Rowatt, professor of psychology and neuroscience from Baylor University.

People who think they know it all -- or at least, a lot -- may be on to something, according to a Baylor University study.

The finding was a surprise to researchers who had theorised that “intellectual humility” -- having an accurate or moderate view of one’s intelligence and being open to criticism and ideas -- would correlate with grades.

In the study, 103 undergraduate students worked for a full semester in groups of four to six members in upper-level psychology courses.

Read: The argument continues: Are men more creative than women?

They did varied tasks, both individually and together.

Then they took tests -- first individually, then with fellow group members, who gave feedback on each member’s work.

Groups tended to view people as intellectually arrogant whom they saw as being high in dominance, extraversion and wanting to be the centre of attention but low in agreeableness and conscientiousness.

“Participants were able to reach a statistically significant consensus about how they viewed a person,” researchers said.

If people are forming opinions about extraversion and someone talks a lot, it’s easy to draw consensus about that person.

“But it is more challenging for groups to recognise what behaviour reveals another person’s humility, as opposed to simply being shy or unsure,” said lead author Benjamin R Meagher from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The research was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

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