People who think they're always right 'are actually pretty stupid', study finds

Rob Waugh
·Contributor


Everyone has met the type, people who’re absolutely convinced they know much more than you – and their opinions are much more valid.

But it turns out that people who’re able to admit that their own knowledge might not be perfect – and that their own views might not be right – are actually cleverer.

Researchers from Pepperdine University examined the idea of ‘intellectual humility’; the opposite of intellectual overconfidence, where you think you’re always right.

It turns out that the ‘certainty’ of thinking you’re always right means that you’re less good at drawing the right conclusions in many situations, Science Alert found.

Those who are able to admit when they might be wrong are able to gain new knowledge easier. Source: Getty/File
Those who are able to admit when they might be wrong are able to gain new knowledge easier. Source: Getty/File

Researcher Elizabeth J. Krumrei-Mancuso said: “Research demonstrates that those who believe knowledge is certain are likely to incorrectly draw definitive conclusions from ambiguous evidence.”

Researchers analysed the links between intellectual humility and the ability to learn in 1,200 people.

Krumrei-Mancuso said that intellectual humility “was associated with more accurate assessment of one’s general knowledge”.

“That is, knowing (and being willing to admit) what you don’t know may be the first step to seeking new knowledge.”

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