Twisted but true: Over-confident people can fool others

  • ANI, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 30, 2014 16:48 IST

A new study has revealed that over-confident people can fool others into believing they are more talented than they actually are.

According to researchers, these 'self-deceived' individuals could be more likely to get promotions and reach influential positions in banks and other organizations and are more likely to overestimate other people's abilities and take greater risks, possibly creating problems for their organisations.

The study by researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Exeter also found that those who are under confident in their own abilities are viewed as less able by their colleagues and has linked a person's view of their own ability and how others see their abilities, and could partially explain financial collapses and other disasters.

Also read: How not to get intimidated by smarter people

As part of the research the team asked 72 students to rate their own ability and the ability of their peers after the first day of their course. Of those, 32 students (about 45%) were under confident in their ability as compared to their final mark, 29 students (40%) were overconfident and 11 students (15%) were accurate in their assessments of their own ability.

There was a positive correlation between the grades students predicted for themselves and the grades others predicted for them. In other words, students who predicted higher grades for themselves were predicted to have higher grades by others, irrespective of their actual final score. The same applied to those who were under confident.

Study author Dr Vivek Nityananda said that these findings suggest that people don't always reward the most accomplished individual but rather the most self-deceived and they think this supports an evolutionary theory of self-deception. It can be beneficial to have others believe you are better than you are and the best way to do this is to deceive yourself, which might be what we have evolved to do.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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