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      Overconfidence over the lifespan

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          Abstract

          This research investigated how different forms of overconfidence correlate with age. Contrary to stereotypes that young people are more overconfident, the results provide little evidence that overestimation of one’s performance or overplacement of one’s performance relative to that of others is correlated with age. Instead, the results suggest that precision in judgment (confidence that one knows the truth) increases with age. This result is strongest for probabilistic elicitations, and not present in quantile elicitations or reported confidence intervals. The results suggest that a lifetime of experience, rather than leading to better calibration, instead may increase our confidence that we know what we’re talking about.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

          People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
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            The trouble with overconfidence.

            The authors present a reconciliation of 3 distinct ways in which the research literature has defined overconfidence: (a) overestimation of one's actual performance, (b) overplacement of one's performance relative to others, and (c) excessive precision in one's beliefs. Experimental evidence shows that reversals of the first 2 (apparent underconfidence), when they occur, tend to be on different types of tasks. On difficult tasks, people overestimate their actual performances but also mistakenly believe that they are worse than others; on easy tasks, people underestimate their actual performances but mistakenly believe they are better than others. The authors offer a straightforward theory that can explain these inconsistencies. Overprecision appears to be more persistent than either of the other 2 types of overconfidence, but its presence reduces the magnitude of both overestimation and overplacement.
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              Hypothesis-testing processes in social interaction.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                101513649
                36364
                Judgm Decis Mak
                Judgm Decis Mak
                Judgment and decision making
                1930-2975
                24 May 2018
                January 2017
                31 May 2018
                : 12
                : 1
                : 29-41
                Affiliations
                [* ]University of Illinois at Chicago
                []University of California at Berkeley
                Article
                NIHMS967845
                5978695

                The authors license this article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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