Do People Truly Know What They Say They Know?

First Posted: Feb 28, 2017 04:46 AM EST

Some people think they know more than they actually do. While others often get annoyed by these know-it-alls, a new video explains why these people think they know what they truly do not.

Medical Daily reported that a SciShow video titled Do You Really Know What You Think You Do? exposes a person's tendency to overclaim and say they know what they actually do not. It turns out most people are not good at evaluating what they know. This often leads them to declare that they are knowledgeable about things they have no idea about.

According to a study, 110 out of 124 people claim to know about several made up words and ideas instead of admitting their ignorance. Accepting the fact that they do not know is apparently difficult for people, which makes them appear more ridiculous than being called dumb.

For the study, researchers asked participants if they have any idea about several biological topics such as "mammal" and "adrenal glands," as well as made up biological terms such as "ultra-lipids" and "bio-sexual." They found out that almost 89 percent of people claim to have known such terms including those that do not even exist.

This is what psychologists call self-serving biases, where people believe they know more than they actually do or think that their reasoning is better that it actually is. This is also in line with a previous study saying know-it-alls are more likely to accept falsehoods as facts.

TIME reported that in a study of 100 people, those who claim to be finance experts are more likely to claim to know about fake finance terms as well.

"The more people believed they knew about finances in general, the more likely they were to overclaim knowledge of the fictitious financial terms," according to study author Stav Atir, a psychological scientist at Cornell University. "The same pattern emerged for other domains, including biology, literature, philosophy, and geography."

This study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

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