Can people differentiate what they know from what they do not? Several lines of research suggest that people are not always accurate judges of their knowledge and often overestimate how much they know. Research on overconfidence finds that people commonly judge the accuracy of their judgments too favorably and typically overestimate how well they perform everyday tasks relative to other people. Work on the illusion of explanatory depth demonstrates that participants tend to think they have a better understanding of how objects work (e.g., a ballpoint pen) than they can demonstrate when that understanding is put to the test.
At times, people even claim knowledge they cannot possibly have, because the object of their knowledge does not exist, a phenomenon known as overclaiming. For example, in the late 1970s, nearly a third of American respondents expressed an opinion about the “1975 Public Affairs Act” when asked about it directly, even though the act was a complete fiction. Approximately a fifth of consumers report having used products that are actually nonexistent. More recent research has asked participants to rate their familiarity with a mix of real and nonexistent concepts, names, and events in domains such as philosophy, life sciences, physical sciences, and literature. Participants reported being familiar with the real items but also, to a lesser degree, with the nonexistent ones. […]
What underlies assertions of such impossible knowledge? We found that people overclaim to the extent that they perceive their personal expertise favorably. […]
A sizable body of work on how people evaluate their own knowledge suggests that they rely not only on a direct examination of their mental contents but also on a feeling of knowing. Notably, a feeling of knowing is often only weakly predictive of actual knowledge and appears to be informed, at least in part, by top-down inferences about what should be or probably is known. We theorized that such inferences are drawn from people’s preconceived notions about their expertise, inducing a feeling of knowing that then prompts overclaiming.
What happens to us as we accrue knowledge and experience, as we become experts in a field? Competence follows. Effortlessness follows. But certain downsides can follow too. We reported recently on how experts are vulnerable to an overclaiming error – falsely feeling familiar with things that seem true of a domain but aren’t. Now a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explores how feelings of expertise can lead us to be more dogmatic towards new ideas.
…the artists all signed some sort of “declaration” one by one. I don’t know what the document said—it was probably just a blank piece of paper…
[Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa] Mayer also had a habit of operating on her own time. Every Monday at 3 p.m. Pacific, she asked her direct reports to gather for a three-hour meeting. Mayer demanded all of her staff across the world join the call, so executives from New York, where it was 6 p.m., and Europe, where it was 11 p.m. or later, would dial in, too. Invariably, Mayer herself would be at least 45 minutes late; some calls were so delayed that Yahoo executives in Europe couldn’t hang up till after 3 a.m. […]
Within weeks of becoming C.E.O., she received an email from Henrique de Castro, the fashionable Portuguese president of Google’s media, mobile and platforms businesses. […] Over dinner, de Castro impressed Mayer with his knowledge of Yahoo’s business and his specific proposals for building it. For several mornings in a row, the two exchanged emails to negotiate de Castro’s salary. Every night, Mayer would make an offer, only to wake up to a reply with a list of more conditions. Eventually de Castro negotiated himself a contract worth around $60 million, depending on the value of Yahoo stock. […] Despite the board’s urging, Mayer opted against vetting Henrique de Castro. As a result, she was unaware that de Castro had a poor reputation among his colleagues in Google’s advertising business. Many had derisively called him the Most Interesting Man in the World, in reference to the satirically fatuous spokesman for Dos Equis beer. […] Advertising revenue declined in every quarter since he was hired. Within a year, Mayer had personally taken control of Yahoo’s ad team. De Castro would leave the company in January 2014. For about 15 months of work, he would be paid $109 million.
Yo is the hottest new app that will leave you scratching your head. The entire premise of the app is to send other users a single word: Yo. […] Without ever having officially launched, co-founder and CEO Or Arbel managed to secure $1.2 million in funding.
That $1m funding should cover costs for a year to find out whether Yo really can succeed, Mr Arbel says. […] “It’s not just an app that says Yo,” says Mr Arbel. “It’s a whole new means of communication.”
‘All writing is pigshit. People who leave the obscure and try to define whatever it is that goes on in their heads, are pigs.’ —Antonin Artaud
Ultracrepidarian (n):”Somebody who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about.”
Groke (v): “To gaze at somebody while they’re eating in the hope that they’ll give you some of their food.” My dog constantly grokes at me longingly while I eat dinner.
Twitter co-creator whose real name is actually Biz Stone has a new project called “Jelly.” No one knows what it is, other than an epicenter of vagaries and tech intrigue. […] In a blog post on its mystery Tumblr, Jelly announced its latest financials backers:
Jack Dorsey, Co-founder and CEO of Square
Bono, Musician and Activist
Al Gore, Politician, Philanthropist, Nobel Laureate
Greg Yaitanes, Emmy Winning Director
Roya Mahboob, Afghan Entrepreneur and Businesswoman
By Jelly’s own admissions, the “product” is still in “early prototyping,” so these celeb investors aren’t even completely sure what they’re investing in. Whatever it is, it will have something to do with “mobile devices [taking] an increasingly central role in our lives,” since “humanity has grown more connected than ever,” and “herein lies massive opportunity.”
“Jelly” has been a closely guarded secret. […] Now, it has revealed itself. It’s a way to ask your friends questions.
Watch the video and be not amazed. Watch as, for the first time ever, a dude takes a picture of a tree in the woods and sends it to someone else because he doesn’t know what he’s looking at—Yahoo! Answers for the bourgeoisie.
Have you ever posted on Facebook, asking if anyone knows a good barber? Or tweeted to your followers asking if “House of Cards” is any good? That’s Jelly—a search engine that uses your friends—only more convoluted than ever before. […]
Jelly says “it’s not hard to imagine that the true promise of a connected society is people helping each other.” This truly is a revolution in engorged, cloying, dumbstruck rhetoric, a true disruption of horse shit. With Jelly, “you can crop, reframe, zoom, and draw on your images to get more specific”—you can also do that with countless other apps. But that doesn’t matter—this is a vanity project, remember. It’s an opportunity for Biz Stone to Vimeopine on the nature of human knowledge, interconnectedness, and exotic flora. It’s an app for the sake of apps—a software Fabergé egg.
Over the past few years various researchers have made systematic attempts to replicate some of the more widely cited priming experiments. Many of these replications have failed. In April, for instance, a paper in PLoS ONE, a journal, reported that nine separate experiments had not managed to reproduce the results of a famous study from 1998 purporting to show that thinking about a professor before taking an intelligence test leads to a higher score than imagining a football hooligan.
The idea that the same experiments always get the same results, no matter who performs them, is one of the cornerstones of science’s claim to objective truth. If a systematic campaign of replication does not lead to the same results, then either the original research is flawed (as the replicators claim) or the replications are (as many of the original researchers on priming contend). Either way, something is awry.