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Some Upper Class People Believe They’re Smarter Than They Really Are, Say Social Scientists

By Alfred Lubrano
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr)  A new study says overconfident upper-class people often attain status by being the “first to speak in social groups, using a factual voice tone no matter what they’re saying, and appearing calm, all cues that make them seem smarter than they are.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

In an episode of the TV series 30 Rock, star Tina Fey asks a child who had accompanied her father to work among a bunch of high-class business types what she’d learned that day.

Without hesitating, the girl says, “People who talk the most in meetings often know the least.”

Out of the mouths of tweens, and now, social scientists.

A recent study shows that people who see themselves as being in a higher social class tend to have an exaggerated belief that they are more capable than their equally skilled lower-class colleagues.

This kind of overconfidence, the study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says, can be misinterpreted by others as proof of greater competence in situations such as job interviews.

“People who are overconfident rise through the hierarchy,” the study’s author, University of Virginia management professor Peter Belmi, said. “And it takes a long time for people to figure out somebody might not be as competent as they seem.”

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