Not As Smart As We Think We Are

Human beings are optimistically flawed, according to a summary of the latest psychological research on self knowledge. The report, in essence, says that people tend to think they are better than they are. At work, they overestimate their job performance; ditto for school; and when it comes to health, they tend to think that high blood pressure, food poisoning, cancer and other illnesses are the kinds of things that affect other people. The report, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest and compiled by investigators from Cornell University, Stanford University and the University of Iowa, says there’s a downside to these errors in self assessment. People don’t take the needed steps to prevent or treat health problems; employees often underestimate how long it will take to complete a task; and entrepreneurs can be dangerously overconfident in making business decisions.