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Overconfident People May Blind Others to Their Real Abilities

'Self-deception' can lead to risk taking, problems for institutions that promote such people

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Overconfident people are better at convincing others that they're more talented than they really are, and therefore are more likely to get promotions and reach high-level positions, according to British researchers. Their findings were published online Aug. 27 in PLOS ONE.

The study included 72 university students who, on the first day of a course, were asked to predict their own and other students' final marks. Fifteen percent of the students made accurate predictions, 45 percent underestimated their scores, and 40 percent were overconfident.

Students who predicted higher marks for themselves were also predicted to have higher grades by others, whether or not that turned out to be true. The researchers added that these "self-deceived" people are also more likely to overestimate other people's abilities and to take greater risks.

"If overconfident people are more likely to be risk prone, then by promoting them we may be creating institutions, such as banks and armies, that are more vulnerable to risk," study coauthor Shakti Lamba, M.D., of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release

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