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Overconfidence May Be a Result of Social Politeness 263

An anonymous reader writes "Joyce Ehrlinger from Florida State University has researched this very phenomenon, and has led her to present a paper called 'Polite But Not Honest: How an Absence of Negative Social Feedback Contributes to Overconfidence' at the American Psychological Association's annual conference in Orlando on Friday. Social norms, Ehrlinger says, are the reason that we are averse to giving negative feedback. Her research recreated everyday social situations in which we hold back from giving our own negative views."
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Overconfidence May Be a Result of Social Politeness

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  • Re:spoonful of sugar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @01:34AM (#40852549)

    Look there is a difference between being an A-hole and just saying it like it is. But sugar coating and wrapping criticism in a shroud of BS is counter productive and often leads people to 'not get it'. If one does something wrong, say it, and say it straight forward, no sugar, no BS.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @01:50AM (#40852639)

    Then use sarcasm, which is a form of irony everybody understands. Be prepared to get your teeth knocked out regularly though, because good sarcasm usually insults the intended recipient a lot more than plain statements.

  • by manwargi ( 1361031 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @03:20AM (#40853051)

    George Carlin [] totally warned us.

  • by ricky-road-flats ( 770129 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:22AM (#40854129)

    I hate to bring up something like Americal Idol (and its predecessor Pop Idol) in somewhere like Slashdot, but I think it's relevant.

    In the UK Pop Idol, the judges were always honest - if they found someone who couldn't sing, they told them they couldn't sing. They told them to not give up the day job, to abandon their dream of being a pop star. On the flip side, if they were good, the judges said so - and because of that it really meant something.

    In the few bits of American Idol I've seen, it's totally different. The judges (I seem to remember Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in particular) when presented with someone who clearly didn't have a hope in hell of becoming a star of any kind, tied themselves in knots trying to say something positive. They just didn't ahve it in them to say "You're not a singer, forget about it". They'd say "You need to work hard to improve your rhythm" or " You're great but you're just not what we're looking for", and so on. Simon Cowell gave much more honest opinions and built a huge business out of doing it - but he was seen as Captain Negativity, the joke one, with the other two encouraging the no-hopers to keep their dream.

    The result? People in the UK who got that negative feedback accept (sometimes reluctantly) that they won't ever be a star and go back to singing in the shower and leading a normal life. People in the US don't have that reality check, so keep on trying, making themselves look more and more ridiculous, desperate and above all untalented.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:52AM (#40854307) Homepage

    When I first started learning Japanese (not my current language of study) and was traveling in Japan, I was taught an important rule by another person learning the language: you know you're getting good at the language when people *stop* complimenting you on how well you speak it.

    Over here, the rule is a bit different: you know you're getting good based on how often strangers try to switch the language of the conversation to English.

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