Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Those Programs Promoting Self-Esteem Really Work!

Fifty-five percent of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American, according to a new survey by YouGov, a research organization that uses online polling. In other words, as YouGov cleverly points out, the average American thinks that he or she is smarter than the average American.
A humble 34 percent of citizens say they are about as smart as everyone else, while a dispirited 4 percent say they are less intelligent than most people.
Lake Woebegon (where most kids are above average) has arrived.  It explains a lot about the last couple of elections, too.


  1. Well, I know that according to standardized testing, I am smarter than most - based on my IQ being slightly more than 2SD above the mean.

    Of course, 50% of the people have a 2-digit IQ, so being smarter than them isn't that much of an accomplishment.

  2. By definition, 50% of the population is smarter than average. So if 55% think they are in that group, that's not a big deal per se.

    But that only 4% recognize they are below average is troubling. Then again, how many people would admit that even to themselves?

    It's one thing to acknowledge lack of strength; size is too visible to be ignored. Physical weakness in women and the elderly is assumed.

    But who is willing to say "I'm stupid"? Some women still adopt the "airhead" pose; some elderly people admit to cognitive impairments; but relatively few.

    Also, it would be interesting to see the results of similar polls with different numbers of choice bands (not just 3). I.e. 2, 5, maybe 7 bands (and see where people place themselves).

    Another useful experiment would be to have people take a standardized test, and estimate the percentile ranks of their performances. Who thinks they are smarter (or dumber) than they are, by how much?

    Are there variations in skew between ethnic groups?

    Does such skew reflect a difference between the average performance of the group and the overall average?

    For instance, do people in the 80th %ile of Yougarians place themselves in the 80th %ile overall, even though the Yougarian distribution is skews lower or higher than the overall distribution?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. I remember reading a newspaper article a while back that indicated that stupid people often have no idea how stupid they are. Not necessarily people with serious retardation problems, most of whom have been insulted, mocked, and mistreated for many years -- but people of a bit below normal intelligence.

  4. This?–Kruger_effect