"I'm Definitely More Intelligent Than The Average Person"

in steemstem •  3 months ago

Did the title make you think I am a jerk? Maybe it would if you thought it was something that I think, or that I have even said (it's not), I'm far too self deprecating for that sort of thing. Rather, it represents the thoughts of many, maybe even you (and it may even be true... or not!). In fact I am sure that most of you have, at one point or another, heard that most people think they are smarter than average. Of course that isnt possible, due to the very nature of what an average is. Still, have you ever seen any hard numbers looking at just how many people think that?

Well, I was reading a new publication from the journal PLoS One where psychologists did just that, through two separate surveys of Americans (N=2821), in which people were asked whether they agreed with the statement "I am more intelligent than the average person."



Overconfidence/Pixabay


Exibit A: Someone who thinks they are "smarter than average"

Overconfidence is just a part of being human, that I think we can all agree. The world has a way of beating you down, unless you believe in yourself strongly enough to tell it to piss off! The result of all that back patting and constant self reassurance of our wonderfulness, may be a skewed view of just how great, our greatness really is! Our overconfidence may be reinforced by the grades we get in school [2], or with specifically which attributes about a person we each consider to be desirable (or great) in the first place [3]. For which ever underlying reason, strong beliefs in ourselves likely play a role in how many people feel they are "smarter than average."

One difficulty in generating good data on this subject, is in getting a sample which actually representative of society as a whole. You could poll college students, but that biases your study to young, more educated people... you could do a poll on the phone, but that biases things to people who still have a land line.. so I guess, people who live in caves and hunt wild life with clubs. The researchers here wanted to use a better methodology to ensure that the sample of people polled would encompass the variety of the sexes, ages, races, incomes etc... of people in american society.

To accomplish this the combination of both a telephone and online based surveys were employed, as this allowed them to hit the broadest swath of the various groups of people in society. Additionally, as I mentioned above, they focused these surveys around the question of whether people identified with the statement "I am more intelligent than the average person." As intelligence follows an actual normal "Gaussian" distribution and is inherent to who we are. It's not a learned characteristic, it just is. Half of the population will be above average in intelligence, and the other half below. No more, no less. Finally, the authors weighted the responses from the different groups of people to actual population data from the US census, to allow for direct comparison between the two (the phone and internet surveys).

What Percentage of Americans Think They Are Smarter Than Average?

Reproduced From [1] Figure 1

65%

With pretty good agreement on the positive side between the phone and internet surveys. However it looks like people on the internet are a little bit more likely to be afraid to make a decision ("I don't know"), than those on the phone. Or maybe people on the phone are a little bit harder on themselves?

Still, that is not the only interesting information that can be pulled out of this study... what else can we see?

Reproduced from [1] Figure 1

Well, for instance, men are more likely than women to think they are smarter than average (p < 0.001, data to the left is from the phone survey, the internet survey mirrors the data as shown previously). Also, young people (younger than 44) are more likely than older people to think they are smarter than average (p < 0.001). The survey also revealed that race was not a major contributor to these thoughts, with both white and non-white people having similar levels of intellect inflating tendencies.

Do More Educated People Think They Are Smarter Than Less Educated People?

While it is not always the case, statistically, people who pursue more education are (on average) more intelligent than those who do not (perhaps intelligent people are drawn to more academic pursuits?). One question the authors of this study were trying to parse out of their data was whether or not they actually provided responses indicating that that population of people actually thinks its smarter than average (matching reality).


Reproduced from [1] Figure 2

As you can see above, where the percentage of respondents stating that they agree with the statement "I am more intelligent than the average person" skyrockets with increasing education. Where people with graduate degrees are among the MOST likely to think they are more intelligent than average. Ironically, studies looking at IQ levels have found that college graduates historically are 84% more likely to be more intelligent than average (though that study is a bit outdated). [4] This would indicate that in classic self deprecating fashion, educated people actually underestimated their intelligence.

In the opposite direction, people lacking a college education are known to be more likely on the less intelligent side of the distribution (the authors report the number should be 47% for those with only a high school education are above average) meaning that the less educated population (no college/some college), actually overestimated their intelligence (for the "some college" group, they overestimated by a large margin).

In all, an interesting little poll study, putting some hard numbers to the idea that a lot of people think they are smarter than average. It's true!

Well, how about it...Are YOU more intelligent than the average person?

Other Image Citations

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Re-Hashed Intext Citations

  1. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200103
  2. http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fh0057492
  3. http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.49.6.16210
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1009574/
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Are we including babies and toddlers? I'd like to be smarter than average, and putting in a bunch of subjects that can't talk should skew thing in my favor :)

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We are also including monkeys and dogs, that should help skew things in my favor as well.

the unintelligent are always sure, the wise is always doubting...

In fact I am sure that most of you have, at one point or another, heard that most people think they are smarter than average. Of course that isnt possible, due to the very nature of what an average is.

Actually it is possible that more then a half are above average (oder under.)

You are confusing average and median (as many, even very smart people do).

Example: You have 10 people. One owns 10 million dollars. 9 own nothing.
On average everyone is a millionaire. The median (or middle income, you may have heard that) is zero.

In Germany 3 years ago the average income was quite exactly 30K while the median was (equally exactly) 20K.
Today it's a bit higher with less round numbers :D

90% of car drivers think they drive better than average. Looking at that difference it could explain why every tenth driver seems to be a complete idiot that should never have gotten a driver's license.

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You are confusing average and median (as many, even very smart people do).

As was stated in the article, intelligence (as measured by IQ) is normally distributed, thus the average is the median. IE the distribution profile fits a gaussian shape, where the average intelligence of 100, is also the median intelligence of the population.

I perhaps wrote the piece confusingly, but I am not confused ;)

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afaik its not a perfect gaussian with 100 in the center.
Anyway, the difference is quite small, so the average is indeed roughly the median for intelligence.

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What natural phenomenon is perfectly anything? :)

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Anything with a gaussian curve ;)

I meant the highest point is somethink like at 98 points and not totally mirrored sides.

Normally in a gaussian curve the definition is that the highest point is in the center and both sides are the same ;)

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Intelligence is commonly described as following a normal distribution. I think you are being nitpicky for the sake of nitpicky.

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You free to think what you want ;)

It is a fact that the IQ is constructed. It is not random based.

For example, If we used the Gaussian curve as our guide, we would expect to find an IQ of 160 or above among about one in 31,600 children. In fact, we find an IQ of 160 or above occurring in one in about every 1,125 kids
http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org/Ln-Normal_vs_Gaussian_Distributions.htm

And yes, I may be nitpicking. I love philosophy after all ;)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay

Of course you are free to pick one of many other phenomenons.

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Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay or radioactivity) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy (in terms of mass in its rest frame) by emitting radiation, such as an alpha particle, beta particle with neutrino or only a neutrino in the case of electron capture, gamma ray, or electron in the case of internal conversion. A material containing such unstable nuclei is considered radioactive. Certain highly excited short-lived nuclear states can decay through neutron emission, or more rarely, proton emission.
Radioactive decay is a stochastic (i.e.

That is a tricky question as far as I'm concerned. No matter how confident I might be as an individual or how damn sure I feel about my intelligence levels, I always think about how that exactly might be the case with dumb people as well. I mean I don't thimk dumb people realize they are dumb, if that were the case then they wouldn't be. So all this means that I might just be another idiot out there regardless of what I think of myself. I still wouldn't be able to tell.

As you pointed out, too many people think they are smarter than average. I guess my own opinion regarding my intelligence doesn't count.

Thought provoking read, have a good day!

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Other people's being wrong doesn't discount your own thoughts. Most people will grasp at straws to mock the intelligence of others. They'll laugh at someone who thinks NY is the capital of the US, for instance. So what? I never laugh at people like that. What matters to me is that a person is open-minded enough to understand something after it's been repeated to him a few times in the simplest terms. When that happens and a person still sticks to their guns, that is stupidity to me.

ou could do a poll on the phone, but that biases things to people who still have a land line.. so I guess, people who live in caves and hunt wild life with clubs.

Do you know that I still have a land line... ;)

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How's your club? Have you recently discovered fire? :P

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Am working on it :D

The fact that you are reading a journal @justtryme demonstrates a few things regarding your intelligence (or at least penchant for suffering). Hahaha. Good read!

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Intellectuals are masochists. The article proves quite unequivocally that you can be average-intelligenced (if that) and be a president. But the educated are like "no, I'll be higher than average and live in a lab next to my mice". :D

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Well the important thing for me is that others find something interesting in the summaries that I make. Im glad you enjoyed the post. :)

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Completely! The more paper reading geeks here the merrier!

From my experience, most educated people think they are smarter than an uneducated person. There is a thin line between intelligence and smartness, intelligence to me is the ability to assimilate and process information while smartness is simply the ability to apply information learnt (either in school or via experience) to outwit problems or scenarios in real life. Most educated people are skilled at assimilation of information while a smart uneducated person is very skilled at outwitting real life scenario to best suit him. these are just my thoughts on the matter

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Statistically speaking, more educated people are more intelligent than uneducated people (likely because intelligent people are more likely to enjoy learning things, and are thus more likely to pursue additional education).

Smarter however, smartness is more like applied intelligence, and it doesn't necessarily correlate. A less intelligent person can be a whole lot smarter then a more intelligent person if they better apply the brain power they've got!

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Couldn't agree more

The topic really got me and I started searching myself if I am also guilty..

I dont know where I stand (weather intelligent or smart) I guess there is a difference

In the opposite direction, people lacking a college education are known to be more likely on the less intelligent side of the distribution

I know so many uneducated guys that are very smart and they would state it that they are smart without education and rub it on

Well, how about it...Are YOU more intelligent than the average person?

That question is too psychological.... I would better be a good person and smart individual in my own way than compare

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I know so many uneducated guys that are very smart and they would state it that they are smart without education and rub it on

So? This doesn't state that uneducated people aren't smarter then average, 47% are more intelligent than average. What the study states is that despite those 47% which are more intelligent, 50-60% of those uneducated people, think they are more intelligent than average.

Thus that group has a bunch of less intelligent people who think they are more intelligent then they are.

Also "smart" and intelligent are not exactly the same thing IMO. Smart is about what you do with your intelligence, plenty of naturally gifted brains being wasted! IMO.

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Smart is about what you do with your intelligence, plenty of naturally gifted brains being wasted

Knowledge added thanks

Insert obligatory Dunning-Kruger reference.

Hello @justtryme90

Interesting but largely unnoticed topic. I agree with the result that says those better educated tend to think they a lie smarter than others.

I cannot agree more based on about this outcome based on our experiences in this part of the world where some more dedicated guys tend to isolate themselves from the common man in the guise of keeping you befitting social class. To me, this is absurdly illogical!

Personally, I would say I try to relate with anyone I see around.

Regards

@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem

If i were approached with this question, i probably would say i'm not so sure. It could depend on what the average is. But of course, there are times when I feel like a jerk and just claim i'm smart AF. It might be because i've reached a particular level of education or the folks i see around and perceive as 'average'.

It's simply human nature though, everyone wants to get to that point where they can look at the sea of heads and be proud they know just a bit more than the 'average' joe once in a while.

Good read, sir.

I think, in effect, that most people think that they are more intelligent than others. However, it often happens that graduates with the highest grades are not necessarily the best professionals in practice. Those who are less advantaged in the university often show themselves to be better at resolving problems.

Are YOU more intelligent than the average person?

This is a tricky question because knowing how intelligent is an "average" person is not easy, in my case, I guess I would answer that I might be more intelligent than the average, but I am not completely sure and I am not as intelligent as I would like to be, so I still have a lot of work to do if I want to feel comfortable with my intelligence.

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I am not as intelligent

Then you are likely above 100 ;)

I actually think I'm average intelligent... :D and please don't mind me saying this, it's supposed to be more ... THAN... not more.. THEN...

Sorry sorry! don't mind me. I just can't help telling. T^T

Great writing btw, and good pick for the photo of Trump! hahahah LMAO ❤

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I'm aware of the Than/Then, unfortunately I always type then and have to correct my self. As a result, I forget to correct it... this article is filled to the brim with that. Whelp, time to go edit. Cheers.

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Peace ❤

I think I just get by. But I've find quite a lot of smart uneducated folks and not so smart educated folks. But on the average, I've seen that people who are educated mostly think they are smarter than the uneducated counterparts, a thinking which is flawed in most real life scenarios.

If a person is slightly more intelligent, it most likely will not affect their life much compared to other people.

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Try telling that to people 2 deviations over or under...

65% HAHA.... I'm not supriced. No suprice. American are so full of themselves. NO OFFENSE

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I don't include my self in that number. So none taken. ;)

Truly speaking I'm not sure what my answer would be if I'm approached with this question. Anyways it depends on the average and reference. But i know for sure that i have been a victim of overconfidence, once when i wanted to take a test which i almost failed.

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The average of reference is an IQ of 100

Test

Are YOU more intelligent than the average person?

Of course! :-)

The survey also revealed that race was not a major contributor to these thoughts ...

I know what you mean, but ... "race"? Apart from the area of selective breeding I would say normally the term 'subspecies' is used instead of 'race', and apart from that, nowadays taxonomists abstain from dividing the species Homo sapiens into different subspecies.
Concerning the question if human 'races' do exist maybe this article is quit interesting to read.

As long as for example two randomly chosen Europeans can differ genetically more from each other than one of them differs from a randomly chosen African individual, one cannot talk of different 'races'.

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Race was the term used by the authors. Certainly from a genetic perspective, there is no such thing as race. It's purely a phenotypic term, though perhaps epigenetic modifications play some role in the quantization of what people define as "races." That would certainly be something not taken into consideration in the 2006 article you provided. I don't know, it's not something I really think about, I don't care about where people are from, only how they think.

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I am aware that the linked text is not the newest anymore but due to some good explanations I still prefer it over most other sources available in the internet ... the current taxonomic assessment is still the same anyway ...

Concerning the self-rating of being more intelligent than average that's just typical human. Let me name another funny example: if you ask people about the coming soccer world champion, the majority (or at least a rather high percentage) will answer their own country will probably win, even if - obviously - the probability p = 1 that any team will win the tournament is distributed on all teams, so that even the best team has a rather low probability (not more than typically roughly p = 0.2 or lower) to become world champion.

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I guess educated people are a bit atypical, in rating them selves on average less intelligent then they are. :D

Imagine how dumb the average person is ...Now imagine that half the people in the world are dumber .... :P

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Correct :)

Long time man! I only discovered this through a resteem.

Did the title make you think I am a jerk? Maybe it would if you thought it was something that I think

No, cos you put it in quotes!

The phone survey is surprising. I'd think pulling people on the phone would make it more likely that they would wear their humble mask. You got a real person there asking you such a question, you're likely to deny it, like you would in real life. But that's not what we see here.

On the other hand, I'm quite happy about the educated/uneducated breakdown. Cos that's exactly what I had predicted from experience! It's often said that educated people think too much of themselves, but if you consider how much they actually know, they're quite humble. And you see people who know very little, and they're quite the opposite of humble! And then you guesstimate the trajectory their ego would take if they knew as much as the people who actually know things, and you predict the kind of ego that only exists in psychos. So my prediction was either that the ego is a fixed thing, more or less the same regardless of education, it's role mainly to keep you upbeat in the face of adversity, or else that education actually humbles you.

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I've never asked myself that question before. I would say it is not relevant to my daily experience. Rather, my actions, omissions and decisions in the respective encounters with people that evoke a more or less intelligent form of expression. When I witness an accident and lose my nerves because someone is bleeding to death on the road, my intelligence doesn't help me much (for example because I am a lawyer and not a paramedic). As far as I am challenged to solve problems in my professional environment - which is the case every day - I am appropriately intelligent and can contribute to improving human coexistence on the basis of problem solutions. My above-average intelligence does not help me if I find myself in situations that I am not used to. Like rowing from one shore to the other shore of a fjord without calculating that rising winds and tidal currents could lead me away from my destination and I could endanger my life - as happened before when I was fourteen. If my intelligence is below average and I am for example not able to read a foreign subway plan correctly and I get lost in the city, this only shows that I am not yet used to reading plans, because my life reality is mainly driving a car, for example.

What I like about your question and the topic is that it triggers such mental associations and raises the question of intelligence in all its complexity.

The information that "Half of the population will be above average in intelligence, and the other half below" captivates me with its simplicity and truth on the one hand, while on the other it leaves me with the question that the definition of intelligence is again not so simple and cannot be finally given. You just have to find a consensus on that, right?