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

Patrick R. Heck, Daniel J. Simons, Christopher F. Chabris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0200103
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Fingerprint

Intelligence
Psychology
census data
Aptitude
psychology
Censuses
demographic statistics
Demography
sampling
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence : Results of two nationally representative surveys. / Heck, Patrick R.; Simons, Daniel J.; Chabris, Christopher F.

In: PloS one, Vol. 13, No. 7, e0200103, 07.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{8f4a93096ae1411cba8724b8b335b8e1,
title = "65{\%} of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence: Results of two nationally representative surveys",
abstract = "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.",
author = "Heck, {Patrick R.} and Simons, {Daniel J.} and Chabris, {Christopher F.}",
year = "2018",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0200103",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "13",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - 65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence

T2 - Results of two nationally representative surveys

AU - Heck, Patrick R.

AU - Simons, Daniel J.

AU - Chabris, Christopher F.

PY - 2018/7

Y1 - 2018/7

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85049358658&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85049358658&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0200103

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0200103

M3 - Review article

C2 - 29969480

AN - SCOPUS:85049358658

VL - 13

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 7

M1 - e0200103

ER -