This is true only when the data follows a pattern called a normal distribution curve; the average is approximately equal to the median and the mode. Probably a moot point, as much data does follow such a curve, but it would be unwise to assume it. Otherwise it's the median that is 50% below or above.
Regardless, our ego lies to us to keep us healthy. The types least likely to fall for this fallacy, would be the types most likely to have a low self-esteem.
Originally Posted by FDG
Let's also consider how it's implied that the underlying phenomena follows a symmetrical distribution. While it may be true for IQ, given that tests are created in a way which constract a bell curve, it's not universally true.
In many occasions it might very well be true that 66% of a given population is "above arithmetic average": if a distribution has really fat left-tails, then the arithmetic average will be much lower than the median.
Good points here.
I inadvertently assumed a normal distribution. Just one extreme outlier can skew averages.
I've always seen myself as humble sort of person who doesn't let confidence go to my head. I don't take my abilities for granted. If anything, there are some areas where I feel I underestimate myself so as to avoid future disappointment when things don't turn out well. However, even I'm not totally immune to overestimating some of my abilities. I may not do it in everything or in most areas but I know that I have done it with some. Driving ability is one prime example. I've read about multiple studies saying that the vast majority of people consider themselves above average drivers, and I was no exception. If you would have asked me to assess my driving ability five years ago, I probably would have said above average. Since then, I've gotten into a couple of minor fender-bender accidents and a few close calls. I would consider myself average at best, even likely below average. My attention naturally drifts too much to be an exceptionally good driver.
There have been times where I've applied for jobs where I'm sure I've overestimated by abilities. I'd read the job description thinking, "I could do that!" only to read further and realize that at least a couple of years of experience was required. And it's probably I good thing I didn't get hired for those jobs. I would likely have been in over my head.
5w6 or 9w1 sp/so/sx, I think
Yeah, I was about to say what some people said, that it's perfectly possible for most people to be above average intelligence if those below average are really, really dumb and skew distribution. Another thing though is that it may be true according to IQ tests. As people have been getting better at taking tests, the "average" IQ raised 10 points in the past 50 years or something, and in schools, most of the times results of tests are judged against the results of the same tests previous years, so it would be very easy for this to be "true" or for at least people to get this idea.
If you wanted to be more accurate, you could ask, "Are you more intelligent than the arithmetic mean of people?" and the 10% who answered "yes" would be, but the other 90% would go, "whuh?"
-Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge
Intelligence, attractiveness and sense of humour are all subjective terms. How is it possible for anyone to definitively say others are overestimating themselves when there are no universal standards? Should everyone believe they're below average because this is what you believe and apply to yourself?
Driving ability is one prime example. I've read about multiple studies saying that the vast majority of people consider themselves above average drivers, and I was no exception. If you would have asked me to assess my driving ability five years ago, I probably would have said above average. Since then, I've gotten into a couple of minor fender-bender accidents and a few close calls. I would consider myself average at best, even likely below average. My attention naturally drifts too much to be an exceptionally good driver. .
I made a post about this but can't find it with the search function. EDIT: found in archives with google search.
On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 being knowing how to start the car and move it around and ten being the highest, most people would rate themselves a 6 or 7. I'd rate myself as a 2.
The more you learn about a subject, the more you find out how little you know. And thus, the more realistic your appraisal. The more I learn about how to drive a car, the more I realize I basically drive my vehicle in straight lines with awkward, slow speed arcs connecting them - in other words, I'm barely doing anything difficult driving around a city or on a highway. I think it would be fair to say that I have 20% (or less) of the skill of a rally or formula 1 driver. More like a 1/10. Hell, even .25/10.
However, a vast majority of people out there are 1's and below, so I have good company.
This is less about averages and more about overall skill, but point remains.
But notice that I say I'm a 2 and most people are 1's. I do think I'm an above average driver...