Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The illusion of confidence - test your own overconfidence bias!

Optical illusion In my posts on the Gorilla Illusions, I point out some of the cognitive biases that can seriously affect the way we work with knowledge, namely
The last two combine in a very powerful way. People who don't know very much can seriously overestimate their confidence in what they do know (this is known as the Dunning Kruger effect - incompetence shields our self-knowledge of incompetence). They then give their opinions very confidently, despite those opinions being based on very little knowledge. And because they speak confidently, others believe them. Result, disaster, especially in Knowledge Management terms.

This effect can be behind some of the perpetual problems that beset project management, such as the universal trend for wishful thinking, or of being blind to unknown risks.

Now there is a way of testing online your illusion of confidence - what the authors of the test call "risk intelligence" but what is really your appreciation of your own levels of knowledge, and therefore your susceptibility to the third gorilla illusion.

Take the test here (the basic test is free), and let me know, as comments on the blog, what score you get! It will be interesting to see whether, as knowledge managers, we fit the normal distribution or not.


Behr Palomo said...

I got 86.something, which they said was high. I actually didn't know many of the answers and got a couple wrong. Very obscure questions/answers, I don't know how many people would know that kind of stuff. I've never been very good at trivia.

Nick Milton said...

That's the point, Behr. People don't know that stuff, but are confident that they do. Because you are not so confident ("I've never been very good at trivia") you get a better score than the overconfident people.

Anonymous said...

Fun test, though I failed some answers but it was checked at 60 or 40% because I heard about it but did not know exactly the correct way(e.g. stalagmite and stalagtite and which one grows up and what other one grows down)...
It's baffling to know how people can score very low scores on this test since it's so very random with all those questions :O...

Kind regards,


Nick Milton said...

People can score low points through being overconfident.

The way to score very highly is to select 50% for every answer!

Lesa said...

Cool test.

I didn't try to game the system by choosing 50% for everything; what would be the point be then of even taking it? My score was 77.9. I only gave one answer at 100%.

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