Science of overconfidence

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23 Responses to “Science of overconfidence”

  1. user1234567 says:

    Doesn’t sound like anything a casino couldn’t have told you….

  2. semiotix says:

    It’s been somewhat of a mystery to evolutionary biologists as to why so many people are overconfident or narcissistic

    Forget biologists, it’s been a huge mystery to ME! I’m so glad I found this article to explain it. Every day I see people strutting around like they’re on top of the world and I’m like, uh, hello, that’s adorable, but it’s not like you’re me or anything.

  3. Brainspore says:

    The authors concluded that their findings were unassailable and commenced building the display cases for their forthcoming Nobel Prizes.

  4. Lobster says:

    Give me a lab coat, some goggles and a test tube and I can science ANYTHING, you guys.

  5. Optic says:

    There’s nothing outmoded about it. Overconfidence is still a successful trait.

  6. Guest says:

    You go colonize that island, in the meantime I will sleep with your wife.

  7. pjk says:

    Wall Street already knew this.

  8. Adam says:

    A lot of things go wrong when there’s a McDonald’s on every corner.

  9. unklstuart says:

    OKA +EV

  10. shaberon says:

    “…the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt” – Betrand Russell

  11. fraac says:

    I sometimes wonder if I would be narcissistic if I wasn’t already this good.

  12. peregrinus says:

    Still 110% relevant – overconfident people tend to cow underconfident people, leaving the other overconfident twits and the middle bunch to compete with.  Parse that group into those who perceive risk in the posturing (if I screw this up and Bill gets the deal I’m finished) and those who strut around equally arrogantly, who may well choose another arena with a less flourishing ponce to compete in.

    I can’t tell you how absolutely certain I am of the value of my accurate and valid convictions.

  13. janusnode says:

    I long ago decided that over-confidence was an asset in academics, where rejection (of manuscripts) and failure (of experiments, equipment, favorite students, the best laid plans) are an everyday part of the job. If you are going to be beaten down, it helps to start large. I decided then that this why so many academics are self-centered narcissistic assholes: it’s adaptive.

  14. eyebeam says:

    It’s not a mystery to anyone who has observed how many douchebags with hot chicks there are.

  15. gwailo_joe says:

    “Still 110% relevant – overconfident people tend to cow underconfident people, leaving the other overconfident twits and the middle bunch to compete with.  Parse that group into those who perceive risk in the posturing (if I screw this up and Bill gets the deal I’m finished) and those who strut around equally arrogantly, who may well choose another arena with a less flourishing ponce to compete in.”I’m not 100% sure myself what you just said there: but I like how you said it!

  16. Glippiglop says:

    I’m not entirely sure that the study has it right, as being overconfident in your skill level can harm or kill you in many instances.  Whether it’s being an overconfident driver, pilot, swimmer, climber, motorcyclist, skier, share trader, gambler, or whatever your risk-taking passion is; overconfidence is more likely to put you into situations that may be too difficult for you to get out of in time.

    What I do think is that people that keep pushing their limits *gradually* are always better off in the end.

  17. SeamusAndrewMurphy says:

    According to William Butler Yeats, “…the best lack all conviction…cuz there loozers”

  18. I think there is merit this study. As a competitive professional level musician when I was younger I used to use a technique similar to overconfidence prior to a competition. I competed on three continents and for many years in the world championships playing in two of the top 10 bands in the world. Nothing beats hard work but when it comes to the crunch hard work doesn’t cut it as anxiety takes over – which is where the over confidence came in. Immediately after competition I’d pull my head out of my ass and return to normal – almost like selective narcissism.

  19. Andy Lewis says:

    The people pushing for war in Iraq didn’t miscalculate. They correctly assumed that failure wouldn’t be disastrous for them personally.

  20. samw says:

    Its a similar thing to the way people drive. When you’re young, you drive like an idiot. If you survive to an older age you slow down, but while you’re young is when you get the chicks. And thus reproduce. So being a fool, overconfident, all those things is a fine way to continue your genes into the future, actually, even if you die by 20, cos for most young idiots blind luck will keep you going til you manage to get some easily impressed girl to mate with you.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Living as I do in a retirement area, I find the idea that young people are worse drivers to be somewhat hilarious.

  21. Society these days takes care of people who fail by providing welfare and medical care. This encourages risky behavior, which could include being over confident.

  22. paul says:

    The really obvious problem with this analysis is what’s known as the Winner’s Curse. Somehow you need to be overconfident with respect to your fighting ability while being spot-on with respect to the value of the resource in question.

    I’m going to propose a counter-theory that says overconfidence is so prevalent today specifically because selection pressure is so much lower than it used to be.

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