Showing posts from June, 2013

Dealing with the paradox of confident ignorance

Charles Darwin once said: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge." This sounds like a strange idea. Is it true that confidence sometimes signals ignorance? Is it true that people who are very confident about their opinions may actually be more ignorant than people who are less confident? If it is true, it might lead to a paradoxical prescription: if you feel very confident you are right about a topic you may not know enough about it. Is there evidence that confidence and ignorance may go hand in hand? Yes, a new study by Philip Fernbach et al. does provide some evidence: Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of Understanding Philip M. Fernbach, Todd Rogers, Craig R. Fox, & Steven A. Sloman  Abstract : People often hold extreme political attitudes about complex policies. We hypothesized that people typically know less about such policies than they think they do (the illusion of explanatory depth) and that polarized attitudes are en


Readers of this blog will probably know that believing that human abilities and traits cannot be developed (this type of belief is called a fixed mindset ) has several disadvantages. One of those disadvantages is a fear of challenges and doing things that are hard. When you do something which is challenging you may make mistakes and fail and this could be interpreted as a lack of natural ability.