“The first rule of intelligence: Don’t talk about your intelligence”

That line is from an article in The Atlantic about how poor people are at self-assessment:

People Don’t Actually Know Themselves Very Well

“The first rule of intelligence: Don’t talk about your intelligence. It’s something you prove, not something you claim. As comedian Patton Oswalt quipped about humor, the only person who goes around saying “I’m funny” is a not-funny person. If you were really funny, you’d just make people laugh.”

To me this kind of thing is pretty obvious, but I guess some people really need to be reminded of it.

Here’s another paragraph with several important reminders, particularly for people who blather about intelligence and cognitive biases:

“This is why people consistently overestimate their intelligence, a pattern that seems to be more pronounced among men than women. It’s also why people overestimate their generosity: It’s a desirable trait. And it’s why people fall victim to my new favorite bias: the I’m-not-biased bias, where people tend to believethey have fewer biases than the average American. But you can’t judge whether you’re biased, because when it comes to yourself, you’re the most biased judge of all. And the more objective people think they are, the more they discriminate, because they don’t realize how vulnerable they are to bias.”

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2 thoughts on ““The first rule of intelligence: Don’t talk about your intelligence”

  1. “the I’m-not-biased bias, where people tend to believethey have fewer biases than the average American”; I cringe when those whom I regard as intellectual allies show themselves unaware of their (to me) transparent prejudices against those who disagree with them. And it’s little comfort to realise that I’m probably just as bad.

    And can I draw your attention to your bias in assuming that your reader is American?

    • Haha. Well what do you expect from The Atlantic (or any American media outlet for that matter)? Parochialism comes naturally to them. 🙂

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