Why Do We Have Positively Enhanced Self-views?

From a Scientific American Article

Most people believe that they are above average, a statistical impossibility. The above average effects, as they are called, are common. For example, 93 percent of drivers rate themselves as better than the median driver. Of college professors, 94 percent say that they do above-average work. People are unrealistically optimistic about their own health risks compared with those of other people. For example, people think that they are less susceptible to the flu than others. Stock pickers think the stocks they buy are more likely to end up winners than those of the average investor. If you think that self-enhancement biases exist in other people and they do not apply to you, you are not alone. Most people state that they are more likely than others to provide accurate self-assessments.

2 thoughts on “Why Do We Have Positively Enhanced Self-views?

  1. Yes everybody views themselves as above the average. Phrases like “I dont need life insurance. nothing will happen to me”, “my startup is different, lean startup is not for my kinds” is common. there is need to assess oneself based on statistical average like a good product manager who takes any decision based on data.

  2. I would contribute it to being a coping mechanism. If you always had self-doubt you would not be able to make decisions: fight or flight instinct transformed into a cerebral trade-off analysis that is biased so that you can move forward.

    This bias also gets lots of positive social feedback: folks that step up in difficult situations are perceived as leaders and 80% of the folks that weren’t as quick in their assessment will follow, the other 20% will be resentful, 🙂

    I am more interested in what makes somebody a psychopath: is it a logical extension of this bias, or is there something else at work.

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