“Illusory Superiority”


Ever wonder why do some people think they’re know-it-alls? This behavior is called illusory superiority… sometimes referred to as above average effect or smart-aleck syndrome.

It happens when a positive illusion, controls one’s overestimation of abilities and underestimation of negative qualities in relation to others.  Illusory superiority brings with it a massive and often destructive self-opinion.  Three attitudes drive illusory superiority: inflated assessment of one’s own abilities, un-worked for future optimism, and an illusion of control.

With illusory superiority folks hold themselves to higher esteem than perceived by others. We have a tendency to partially form opinions and world views based on social comparisons with these evaluations based largely around academic performance, working and athletic environments, personal relationships, and social settings.  But normally we hold a specific view of our own personal popularity, overall honesty, confidence, and other traits we find desirable using our own measurements.

Folks embracing illusory superiority in their personality and actions usually wildly exaggerate their positive abilities, popularity, and intelligence.  The “Downing effect” associates illusory superiority and IQ. People with illusory superiority and a below-average IQ tend to significantly overestimate their IQ.

Another illusory superiority example encompasses many folks erroneous view of their driving ability.  Regardless of past driving faux pas, most drivers rate themselves superior to others on driving skills. As expected this unauthentic bias frequently undermines folk’s perceptions of what are and are not safety hazards.

The “Dunning–Kruger effect” further defines illusory superiority. It describes how unskilled folks mistakenly assess their ability to be much higher than is accurate. Conversely, highly skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others.

When it comes to illusory superiority, recognizing self-importance and achieving goals is often not about who holds the controls… rather It’s a Funny Feeling to know honoring others and staying in one’s creative LANE… frequently delivers to one-self… the highest personal GAIN.

 

Copyright 2018 Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD and Audra RN Funny Feelings©

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