Do Know-It-Alls Really Know It All?

10:08 minutes

“Pre-rated stocks,” “fixed rate deduction,” and “annualized credit” sound like fairly weighty financial terms. So much so, that a number of self-described finance experts said they were familiar with them. However, these concepts were invented by researchers at Cornell University seeking to understand why people say they know things when they don’t—what the team refers to as “overclaiming.” The resulting study, published in the journal Psychological Science, indicates that the more people see themselves as experts, the more likely they are to feign knowledge of phony information. Stav Atir and David Dunning, both authors on the paper, explain why know-it-alls overestimate what they actually know. They also help analyze the results of a Science Friday quiz that sought to informally apply their findings (see the quiz question below.)

Segment Guests

Stav Atir

Stav Atir is a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

David Dunning

David Dunning is a psychology professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.

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