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Presented By: Department of Psychology

Social Brown Bag:

Yuyan Han, Graduate Student, Social Psychology; Cristina Salvador, Ph.D., Incoming Assistant Research Professor, Duke University, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience


The Role of Guessing in the Mismeasure of Expertise

Under traditional testing methods, luck in guessing can lead some people to display both false expertise in their performance and apparent bias in self-assessments of that performance. Some people guess their way to top performance but understand that they are merely guessing, and so appear to underestimate their expertise. Conversely, because some people guess wrong, traditional testing methods make them appear overconfident even though they are perfectly aware of their poor knowledge. With a revised performance measure that takes guessing into account, we examined biased self-assessment, focusing on the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which people—particularly poor performers—misestimate their expertise. Via mathematical simulations and eight empirical studies (n = 1041), we tested how much the effect is produced because lucky or unlucky guessing generates performance levels that stray from self-aware judgments of that performance. After accounting for guessing, the effect is partially reduced, especially for top performers, but not eliminated. Overall, the Dunning Kruger effect arose more when participants were “misinformed” (i.e., reaching wrong answers through faulty beliefs or reasoning) than when they were “uninformed” (i.e., wrong because they were merely guessing).


Relational Mobility Predicts a Faster Spread of COVID-19: A 39-Country Study

It has become increasingly clear that COVID-19 is transmitted between individuals. It stands to reason that the spread of the virus depends on sociocultural ecologies that facilitate or inhibit social contact. In particular, the community-level tendency to engage with strangers and freely choose friends, called relational mobility, creates increased opportunities to interact with a larger and more variable range of other people. It may therefore be associated with a faster spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Here, we tested this possibility by analyzing growth curves of confirmed cases of and deaths due to COVID-19 in the first 30 days of the outbreaks in 39 countries. We found that growth was significantly accelerated as a function of a country-wise measure of relational mobility. This relationship was robust either with or without a set of control variables, including demographic variables, reporting bias, testing availability, and cultural dimensions of individualism, tightness, and government efficiency. Policy implications are also discussed.

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September 15, 2021 (Wednesday) 12:00pm
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