from the world's big
That know-it-all who drives you crazy? They're full of it, says science.
In this study, know-it-alls although aware of their biases, selected data that supported their beliefs anyway.
Do you know someone who claims to be THE source on one particular thing, be it politics, religion, relationships, or etiquette? There are movies, music, and sports know-it-alls too. No matter the kind, few people can be quite as irksome. Want to stick it to the know-it-all in your life? Just casually mention that they seem to suffer from “belief-superiority.” Then hit them with this study, out of the University of Michigan. It says that know-it-alls tend to over-inflate what they know.
Although we all do this to some degree, and studies have shown that it’s actually hard for us to judge exactly what we do know, some people take their sense of being knowledgeable to the extreme. Researchers ran six studies focusing on politics. They wanted to answer these questions: “Do people who think that their beliefs are superior have more knowledge about the issues they feel superior about? And do belief-superior people use superior strategies when seeking out new knowledge?”
What they found was, even when faced with holes in their understanding, know-it-alls still claimed to be more knowledgeable than their peers and even sought out information to confirm their bias, while ignoring data which made them appear wrong or less savvy. The study’s findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
The research consisted of quizzes testing knowledge on political terms and issues. Many contained both true terms and made up ones. Just like you’re average music know-it-all who says they recognize a band they’ve never heard of, so too did political know-it-alls say they were familiar with terms that didn’t exist. In one experiment, participants were told beforehand that some of the terms were made up. Belief-superior people still selected fake terms and insisted they knew them.
Psychologists say most belief-superiors are underneath it all insecure. They feel a compulsive need to appear as if they know everything. Sometimes under that though, they harbor deeper feelings of superiority. Credit: Bastian, Day 264. Flickr.
Michael Hall was the lead author of the study. He’s a psychology graduate student at the university. "Whereas more humble participants sometimes even underestimated their knowledge, the belief superior tended to think they knew a lot more than they actually did."
This is reminiscent of the quote by British philosopher Betrand Russell, “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” Psychologists call this the Dunning-Kruger effect and a number of studies have supported it.
In one part of the quiz, participants were asked to read one of two articles on a controversial topic. In half of these, respondents read essays which agreed with their point of view. In the other, they got ones that disagreed. "We thought that if belief-superior people showed a tendency to seek out a balanced set of information,” Hall said, “they might be able to claim that they arrived at their belief superiority through reasoned, critical thinking about both sides of the issue.”
Instead, know-it-alls were far more likely to choose data that supported their beliefs and ignore things that contradicted them. This phenomenon not only over-inflates what belief-superior people actually know, it causes them to miss opportunities to genuinely improve their knowledge base.
Despite it all, there is hope for the know-it-all. Credit: Sage Ross. Self-Portrait, Pretentious. Flickr.
All of us shy away from information that confirms opposing viewpoints to a certain extent. Belief-superior people do this to a far greater degree, researchers say. These are usually tied to more significant parts of our identity, such as our values. Kaitlin Raimi is a U-M assistant professor of public policy. She was the study's co-author.
Raimi said in a press release, "Having your beliefs validated feels good, whereas having your beliefs challenged creates discomfort, and this discomfort generally increases when your beliefs are strongly held and important to you." What’s really interesting is, as the researcher’s wrote in their study, “When belief superiority is lowered, people attend to information they may have previously regarded as inferior.” So there is hope for the know-it-all, if you can break past their defenses. But that’ll be a tough shell to crack.
To learn more about the Dunning-Kruger effect, click here:
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.