I grew up with a habitual overclaimer. He wildly exaggerated his expertise, at times claiming knowledge of things he couldn't possibly know -- people, events, ideas that simply do not exist. We're all familiar with these people who feel the need to overestimate what they know about the world. What underlies such assertions of impossible knowledge?
A team of psychological scientists wondered if hunger might spill over into other behavioral domains, sometimes in irrational ways. Is it possible, that is, that hunger triggers an acquisitive mindset generally, one that piques our desire even for non-food? The scientists explored this provocative idea in several experiments.
Scientists Nick Epley and Juliana Schroeder believe there is something about speech that conveys not just the content of a person's mind but the capacity for reasoning, thoughtfulness and intellect. If they are right, job seekers should appear more thoughtful and intelligent when given the opportunity to speak, rather than write, about themselves. That's what they set out to test.
The fact is that modesty, or even self-effacement, can be more effective than bragging in creating a good first impression. Most of us know this from being on the receiving end, yet we still err on the side of self-aggrandizement. But why do we get it wrong so much of the time? Here's where some new research may be illuminating.