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93% of Drivers Consider Themselves Above Average. Are You Above Average?

To make it a little clearer, only half of a group can be better than average at something, while the other half must be worse than average; and anyone falling in the middle, is truly average; and since most Americans think they are better than average at driving, this says something about our cognitive bias to overestimate our positive qualities, and underestimate our negative qualities.

According to a study published in a Swedish Psychology journal (Acta Psychologica) a whopping 93% of Americans consider themselves above average drivers. The sample consisted of students, and while the study was conducted in multiple countries, it because obvious that Americans saw themselves as even better drivers than their Swedish counterparts.  The Swedish came in at a much lower 69%.

In another similar study by McCormick, Walkey and Green (1986) drivers rated them 80% above average.

The problem with rating ourselves is that since few of us our trained expert drivers (e.g. rac-ecar drivers) , it is hard to measure our real ability compared to everyone else. This is known as “illusory superiority” in the social-psychology world.

This doesn’t just occur with driving, but with just about every other part of our life, whether its estimating our IQ, rating our own popularity compared to our friends, or guessing how well we get along with others (25% of people believe they are in the top 1% of “how easy they think they get along with others, compared to their peers”).  Even smart people are wrong: “87% of MBA students at Stanford University rated their academic performance as above the median”

And remember the flip-side of this. Anyone that drives faster than you is a manic, and anyone that drives slower than you simply does not know how to drive, proving once again that YOU are turly and average driver.  Seriously, think about it for a moment…

 

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0001691881900056
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0001457586900047

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