The Union College Psychology Department Speaker Series and Honors Colloquium welcome
Jennifer Beer, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
for a public lecture entitled
What Makes You So Overconfident? Lessons from Brain and Behavior
Thursday, October 7, 2021
12:45–1:50 PM • Karp 105
Note: No food/drink due to COVID policy
Human judgment is notoriously imperfect. We even make mistakes when judging our favorite subject: ourselves! It is striking that flawed self-judgment most frequently takes the form of self-flattery. Decades of research show that people tend to be overconfident about themselves, that is, they exaggerate the strengths (and downplay the weaknesses) of their personality, abilities, and expertise. Scientists have rigorously debated the mystery of why people tend to be so overconfident. Whereas some researchers have described overconfidence as the result of a strong desire to protect self-esteem, others have focused on how lazy thinking gives rise to overconfidence. This talk covers a series of behavioral and brain studies aimed at reconciling the ongoing debate. Our results suggest that both camps are right. Overconfidence is typically accomplished with little mental effort. Overconfidence does not always reflect a desire to protect self-esteem. Yet when overconfidence arises to protect self-esteem, it is accomplished through a unique neural pathway. Discussion will also focus on how these results advance neuroscience, which has ignored the ways in which people see themselves in a biased fashion.