Title

Unskilled but Aware: Reinterpreting Overconfidence in Low Performing Students

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2011

Abstract

People are generally overconfident in their self-assessments and this overconfidence effect is greatest for people of poorer abilities. For example, poor students predict that they will perform much better on exams than they do. One explanation for this result is that poor performers in general are doubly cursed: They lack knowledge of the material, and they lack awareness of the knowledge that they do and do not possess. The current studies examined whether poor performers in the classroom are truly unaware of their deficits by examining the relationship between students' exam predictions and their confidence in these predictions. Relative to high-performing students, the poorer students showed a greater overconfidence effect (i.e., their predictions were greater than their performance), but they also reported lower confidence in these predictions. Together, these results suggest that poor students are indeed unskilled but that they may have some awareness of their lack of metacognitive knowledge.

Publication Title

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

Volume

37

Issue

2

First Page

502

Last Page

506

DOI of Published Version

10.1037/a0021802