Monday, July 18th, 2016
Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. This is evident in a variety of areas including intelligence, performance on tasks or tests, and the possession of desirable characteristics or personality traits.
As humans, we’re pretty bad at judging our own abilities. Most of us think we’re awesome and more often than not, we judge ourselves as better than average in most traits. We do this in all kinds of ways.
For instance, around 90 percent of people belive they are better-than-average drivers, and a similarly impossible number of people claim that they are happier, more popular, or more likely to succeed that the average person. In one study, an incredible 25 percent of respondets rated themselves in the top 1 percent in term of leadership ability.
This illusory superiory explains why the less we know, the more we think we know. It’s a confusing phenomenon, but it’s incredibly common. Basically, the more incompetent you are at something, the less likely you’ll realize you’re bad at it unless a professional points it out.
What’s significant about our unreasonably glorified view of ourselves is that often we are often unable to recognize our shortcomings and correct them, even when we are made aware of them. Like most other cycles, it can be broken by external influences. Here, education and training to improve one’s ability to perform the task could also vastly improve the accuracy of his judgement. Increasing one’s knowledge of the subject would allow a better understanding of where he stands relative to others.
Summing-up: Illusory superiority is a phenomenon where people regard themselves as generally better than others, no matter what the facts are. Being full of yourself can give you the confidence you need to go about everyday life with swag, but it can also make you attempt things you would not otherwise have done. An overestimation of your ability in certain tasks could lead to undesirable results.