Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 82–84 | Cite as

Overconfidence in ignorant experts

  • James V. Bradley


When asked true-false questions that were too difficult to be answered correctly at better than a chance frequency, subjects often guessed in preference to admitting ignorance and often expressed certainty in the correctness of their answers. These tendencies were strongly correlated with the degree of expertise the subject believed himself to have in the area in which the question was asked. Under certain presumably ego-threatening conditions, subjects contradicted by answering “false” appreciably more often than they agreed by answering “true, ” although half the questions were, in fact, true and half were false.


Difficult Question Wrong Answer Test Booklet Peer Review System Complete Uncertainty 
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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • James V. Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces

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