The article continues:
Four factors consistently predicted overconfidence. (If you want to try this yourself, go here.)
First, people tend to be overconfident about skills that reflect one’s underlying personality or character. This helps explain why people overestimated how they compare with others in their ethics, their reliability as a friend and their value as a human being.
And since many people feel pressure to conform to gender norms, this may help us understand why men and women tend to be particularly overconfident on different tasks. Across the 100 skills tested, men are a bit more overconfident over all in how they compared themselves with members of their gender. But men’s overconfidence is particularly noticeable in stereotypically male tasks. Men think they can best the majority of other men in poker, fixing a chair and understanding science. Women are far less confident that they can outperform other women in these tasks.
In contrast, women think they are better than most other women in understanding other people’s feelings, cooking a delicious meal and child-rearing. Men are less confident that they outrank other men in these tasks.
As technology advances, will it continue to blur the lines between public and private? Explore what’s at stake and what you can do about it.
Fun fact: The average man thought he would be better than 63 percent of other men if he had to survive a zombie apocalypse. The average woman thought she would be better than 47 percent of other women at this task.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
— How good are you at judging your own abilities?
— How did the two lists you created compare to the authors’ findings on what things people tend to be overconfident and less confident about? What did you find most interesting or surprising about their lists?
— After reading the article, do you feel that you overinflate your abilities or diminish them? What, if anything, did you learn about yourself from the article?
— The article concludes:
Some of the early work on confidence presented a picture of human beings as comically cocky. Most people, we were told, walked around falsely convinced that they were better than other people. This new research gives us a more nuanced picture.
Sure, many people still traipse around deluded that they outshine others in their driving on non-icy roads, vegetable-chopping and cuddling. But when they imagine doing something difficult or something that they haven’t tried before, people tend to be timid and doubtful of their capabilities. When they go outside their comfort zone, people systematically sell themselves short.
What role does confidence, or lack of it, play in your life? Do you find yourself doubting your capabilities when trying new things out of your comfort zone? Will this article help you to more accurately assess your capabilities?
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