65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence: Results of two nationally representative surveys.

PLoS One. 2018;13(7):e0200103

Authors: Heck PR, Simons DJ, Chabris CF

Psychologists often note that most people think they are above average in intelligence. We sought robust, contemporary evidence for this “smarter than average” effect by asking Americans in two independent samples (total N = 2,821) whether they agreed with the statement, “I am more intelligent than the average person.” After weighting each sample to match the demographics of U.S. census data, we found that 65% of Americans believe they are smarter than average, with men more likely to agree than women. However, overconfident beliefs about one’s intelligence are not always unrealistic: more educated people were more likely to think their intelligence is above average. We suggest that a tendency to overrate one’s cognitive abilities may be a stable feature of human psychology.

PMID: 29969480 [PubMed – in process]

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