Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Overconfidence May Be a Result of Social Politeness

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the tell-it-like-it-is dept.

Science 263

An anonymous reader writes "Joyce Ehrlinger from Florida State University has researched this very phenomenon, and has led her to present a paper called 'Polite But Not Honest: How an Absence of Negative Social Feedback Contributes to Overconfidence' at the American Psychological Association's annual conference in Orlando on Friday. Social norms, Ehrlinger says, are the reason that we are averse to giving negative feedback. Her research recreated everyday social situations in which we hold back from giving our own negative views."

cancel ×

263 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Noooo (3, Insightful)

theRunicBard (2662581) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852509)

You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?

Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (-1, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852669)

You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?

 
Please tell that to Hillary Clinton
 

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (5, Insightful)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852703)

No, I think it means that people are going to generally be nice and say good job when you did actually suck. Therefore making you overconfident.
This is why i always speak the truth, no matter how blunt.

That is where the phrase, "Honesty doesn't always win friends, but it influences people." comes from.....I think

It's what politicians suck for breakfast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852783)

Forget the partisan dig. Without overconfidence, there won't be any politicians. Everybody would be a bureaucrat waiting for a promotion.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852941)

This is why i always speak the truth, no matter how blunt.

Always? That's a good way to end up unemployed and with no friends to be blunt with.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852997)

Always? That's a good way to end up unemployed and with no friends to be blunt with.

Which is why he's obviously lying.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853065)

I think you're right.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853521)

Incorrect. You just need to find the right friends and the right employer.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (5, Insightful)

mrgiles (872216) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853021)

I agree with always being honest, but disagree with the need to be blunt. I have learned over the years that it is better to work with people than against them.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853403)

I'm constructively blunt.

I like to tell people to their faces that they suck at life and what they can do to change it.
It helps.

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (5, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852755)

You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?

Please tell that to Hillary Clinton

No, Hillary was his wife. You're thinking about Monica...

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853145)

You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?

Please tell that to Hillary Clinton

No, Hillary was his wife. You're thinking about Monica...

Suckers...

Re:Please tell that to Hillary Clinton (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853173)

You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?

Please tell that to Hillary Clinton

No, Hillary was his wife. You're thinking about Monica...

Suckers...

Hillary too?

No, tell that to Monica Lewinsky (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853123)

>>"You mean if no one tells me I suck, I won't think I suck?"
>"Please tell that to Hillary Clinton"

No, tell that to Monica Lewinsky. Because she did suck. Or at least the president told us so, and, he was the spouse to Hillary Clinton at the time.

Re:Noooo (1)

SillyPerson (920121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853455)

You suck!

You're welcome.

Except on the Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852517)

where anything goes!

spoonful of sugar (5, Insightful)

iamnobody2 (859379) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852521)

negative feedback is acceptable if given constructively and pleasantly

Re:spoonful of sugar (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852549)

Look there is a difference between being an A-hole and just saying it like it is. But sugar coating and wrapping criticism in a shroud of BS is counter productive and often leads people to 'not get it'. If one does something wrong, say it, and say it straight forward, no sugar, no BS.

Re:spoonful of sugar (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852805)

negative feedback is acceptable if given constructively and pleasantly

 
That's a nice notion, but unfortunately it only works some of the time, as different people react differently to different stimuli
 
Some takes direct criticism well, others may not.
 
Some are enlightened by the hinted enclosed within the sweet-coating, but others do not
 
 

Look there is a difference between being an A-hole and just saying it like it is. But sugar coating and wrapping criticism in a shroud of BS is counter productive and often leads people to 'not get it'.

Not all "not getting it, some do
 
As different people react differently to different stimuli, you do have to tailor-made (or customized) the criticism / sarcasm / suggestion to suit the personality of the intended target
 

Re:spoonful of sugar (2)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853383)

I lived a year and a half with some friends in collective.
We shared a fridge, and I had a top shelf...and i had a tendency to sorta pile my jars and such so they fell over. My rather...grumpy and several synonymous of that adjective friend did point that out.
If something spilled it would land on his shit.

One day I noticed some sticky brown sauce on his shelf and groceries...was a bit of a mystery at first, wasn't sure if it was a red wine vinegar bottle or not, until I assured him that it was.

Well...I was embarrassed, and immediately went about cleaning the fridge. He got cross and started "lecturing" me with this really patronizing pop-psychology( this is the guy that called a house meeting to hold a dramatic soliloquies of the tragedy of the commons, subtle).
I usually start calling him an hypocrite when he begins and how I actually clean up his pans when Its been standing on the stove for a day, but here I was an inconsiderate dumbfuck so I'll let him carry on, while I went about to clean the fridge feeling like a prick.
He then smacks me on the head and tells me to look him in his eye when he's talking to me. Any willingness to be introspective to anything he said disappeared at that point, along with my planned barrage of apologies and assurances of re-compensations ....not to mention me for the first time saying "yes you are right" to one of "stern talking".
My humility was used up so I just flipped him off and left.

Now, you could claim i should just stand there and take it, and i know I wasn't Martha Stewart...but I get stubborn and argumentative if i feel i have a couple of justification to defend myself, especially when they tried to be so bloody "snobby" and theatrical. That stubbornness wasnt often rational but in some cases I had cause to defend myself...so whenever shouting match occoured there wasnt any feedback to be had. He though I was an impetuous child and I got annoyed, stubborn and dismissed him as a dramaqueen.
Just glad that when I left my friendships were still intact. But yeah, by a tally you can easily say that had more to be annoyed about, but as much as a douchbag this makes me sound, the "stern but fair" approach failed, hey...I 'm still living like a pig!

So yeah...if you are pessimist and feel you can only nip things in the bud with a pragmatic confrontation....well, I can't honestly say that they could do anything different to knock some sense into me, but just try to be patient by asking, then a bit of nagging....then find a way to shame me into submissin in a non-passive aggressive way....because the "though love" approach can easily backfire.

Re:spoonful of sugar (-1, Flamebait)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852845)

YOU Fucking BUKKIT OF BILE! you think acting haughty and playing DADDY is the perfect mannerismto get a MESSAGE across to SOMEONE! YOU'LL BE LEFT WITH NO TEETH and no FRIENDS!!

Re:spoonful of sugar (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853105)

*swosh*

Re:spoonful of sugar (2)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852553)

negative feedback is acceptable if given constructively and pleasantly

its a convincing point, but the problem seems to be with the three terms (negative, constructively, pleasantly) in the statement which are relative and vary from person to person.

Re:spoonful of sugar (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852605)

negative feedback is acceptable if given constructively and pleasantly

Not always. When I was a kid, I was a real brat and a complete nuisance at school, both for my schoolmates and for teachers, and didn't realize it. School officials tried time and time again to talk to me "about my future", call my parents in to have a chat about my latest antics in a pleasant, non-hurtful, Mr. Mackey sort of way, to no avail.

And one day, 20 kids ganged up on me and beat the shit out of me outside school. I got the message. It was one of the most important lessons of my life.

So no, being pleasant isn't always constructive.

Re:spoonful of sugar (4, Funny)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852733)

So humans evolved manners so they could avoid getting the shit kicked out of them by their peers! Who would have thought?

Re:spoonful of sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853011)

Cool story bro.

Re:spoonful of sugar (2)

N1AK (864906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853205)

And one day, 20 kids ganged up on me and beat the shit out of me outside school. I got the message. It was one of the most important lessons of my life.

I got in a lot of fights as a kid and had a lot of issues. The more people tried to force me to do things the more I'd fight back. I got lucky and after leaving 3 schools ended up in a specialist one which had an ethos of non-confrontation and staff who were trained to reason with students. It was a school of about 30 kids that a normal school couldn't control and yet we left with decent grades and much more balanced lives. So although a beating may have done it for you, it might not work for many others.

Re:spoonful of sugar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853495)

All your posts are shit - those kids didn't beat nearly enough of it out of you.

Re:spoonful of sugar (-1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853543)

And one day, 20 kids ganged up on me and beat the shit out of me outside school.

Wow, might does make right! I'll remember that next time I want someone to believe that 1 + 1 = 3. If I can beat them up, then their own conclusion must be wrong.

Clearly physical violence is the best way to handle everything!

Re:spoonful of sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853589)

Then again, if you had spent your childhood always being told you were worthless and were doing things wrong and wouldn't amount to anything, maybe that beating you got after school would have just reinforced that fact.

Speaking from personal experience as a young screw-up, now as an older executive type who manages young screw-ups, being especially negative may have felt good, but I've rarely seen it make the situation better.

Re:spoonful of sugar (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852649)

Depends on the person. Some people take negative feedback hard, and become discouraged. Some people take it well, and become driven to do better.

Same with positive feedback, actually. Some people take it poorly and become overconfident. Some see it only as an affirmation of their progress.

The only difference is, the person giving feedback would feel worse for giving negative feedback and having the person take it badly, than giving positive feedback with the negative reaction. This kind of feedback is ultimately not about the person receiving it, it's about the person giving it. It's about feeling good for that person, rather than doing good.

Re:spoonful of sugar (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852727)

After 17 years programming video games, I've found that the people who can't take criticism are known as artists.

Re:spoonful of sugar (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852839)

... people who can't take criticism are known as artists ...

 
... and architects

Re:spoonful of sugar (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853147)

... people who can't take criticism are known as artists ...

... and architects

don't architects consider themselves to be artists?

Re:spoonful of sugar (1)

qu33ksilver (2567983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853029)

Depends on the person.

This holds true for every theory. But I guess the basic idea is that people judge themselves by the reaction from their surroundings, in this case- the society.

Lack of negative feedback is in no way the only factor in overconfidence. Too much of a positive feedback will also give overconfidence. But this theory is from a different perspective. Its just trying to point out that we are reluctant to give negative feedback and people might take it in a different way. I have to say that I do not totally agree with this view because I feel, unless you get positive feedback or what you can call "appreciation", we don't feel motivated to do better. How can a neutral situation make anybody overconfident ?

Anyways, people will continue to make radical attempts to understand society. This is a weak one.

Re:spoonful of sugar (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853399)

Capitalise your sentences, you wanker.

That's strange... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852535)

...it's never stopped my fellow slashdoters from destroying my comment reputation. =]

Re:That's strange... (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852665)

Joke aside, that's because your fellow slashdotters can destroy your comment reputation *anonymously*. You'd be surprised how ordinary, polite folks can turn into nasty, mean sonsabitches when they can hide their names and faces. TFA was dealing with people who know and see each other, and go out of their way to avoid social confrontation.

This said, you deserve your comment reputation ruined :)

Re:That's strange... (0)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852741)

That is because when people are online they can be dicks without the threat of getting punched in the face. As Rosco said, "anonymously."
It is the bigger pussies face to face that are the bigger dicks online. Those people that go of on some psychotic tangent online would shy away and avoid such a situation in public, because they would get their asses kicked and possibly pushed into oncoming traffic.

Re:That's strange... (1)

user flynn (236683) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853001)

It is the bigger pussies face to face that are the bigger dicks online.

You'll like this then:
    Nobody better ever mess with you online! :)

Ive got your negative feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852557)

Joyce is full of crap and a complete idiot. I am absolutely sure of this, by just reading the article summary here. believe me, I know what im talking about. PS, remember, negative feedback is good, positive feedback is bad, at least in audio systems.

Re:Ive got your negative feedback (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852865)

negative feedback is good, positive feedback is bad, at least in audio systems.

Depends if you want volume or quality, like everywhere else!

Not news (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852559)

It's been just about impossible to criticize the religious beliefs of anyone for decades, and it's almost impossible to curb inappropriate and in-your-face religious behaviors because of the sacrosanct rule that religion is somehow immune to interference from the secular world, and that's why religious craziness around the world is on the rise.

Re:Not news (3, Insightful)

gishzida (591028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852715)

Ever try to tell a Libertarian that has drunk the kool-aide that their free market liberty is swapping big government inefficiency [ineffectiveness which protects all of us -- read Heinlein] for a Darwinian construct that has no moral or ethical foundation? Libertarian Religion [sorry the political party and their weak sister Tea Baggers] is bad for the present and worse for the future... Don't they realize the "death panels" of "free market health care insurance" is already sitting-- they're called actuaries?

So irrationality does not occur in just religion... it happens in politics and probably every other human endevor... If we were rational we would be a lot different than we are...

My mother used to say: "Just because they are polite, doesn't mean they are nice."

Remember that the next time your boss politely makes irrational demands and leaves you holding the bag.

Re:Not news (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852765)

So irrationality does not occur in just religion... it happens in politics and probably every other human endevor...

Yes, but you can have political debates. You can't have true religious debates: when people run out of argument, they pull the "faith" card and the discussion is over. And we're all supposed to respect faith as if it was unattackable by definition.

Re:Not news (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852831)

Decades or about a century or two ago religion was considered something personal and abstract. It was thought religion has evolved something that tells you to do the right thing but doesn't straightly tell what is the right thing in certain situation. You have to sort it out yourself.

Humanity used to be so evolved they didn't think the religions that told you to vote certain parties or abolished you from eating certain foods, were ever coming back.

Re:Not news (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852975)

Faith is defined as "belief that is not based on proof." You can think of faith as being an axiom. "As classically conceived, an axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy."

That is why atheists arguing with believers is pointless. Each has their own axioms, and to change those would require an event that would cause them to re-examine their entire lives. An argument at a cocktail party or over teh interweb isn't going to do that.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852965)

> Don't they realize the "death panels" of "free market health care insurance" is already sitting-- they're called actuaries?

Yeah... I never got this either... they dont want "government death panels"... but they are a-okay with corporate death panels. I'd rather have the government running a death panel (hopefully looking out for the good of society) rather than a corporate one (that is only looking out for the good of the few wealthy shareholders).

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853057)

Well thats dumb... instead of it only being a corporation deciding when you die it is now the "hopefully" nice people with all the guns and cages choosing.

Re:Not news (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853409)

More underwriters and claims managers. Us actuaries just tell you what risks cost in the future and what to charge for them now.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852729)

Your logic is: Religious beliefs were at their most worst in the past, when they were protected more, but are now getting worse-er-er???

So, is 'religious craziness' on the rise, or is it less worse than it used to be when it was more worse?

Re:Not news (2)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852759)

i think what he is going at is that it doesn't matter how wrong or bat shit a religious person is because they think they are always right and it doesn't matter how stupid or wrong they are because "God loves them no matter what."

i could be wrong..

Re:Not news (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852779)

What is the point of arguing with religious persons? Religion requires one to ignore reality and the evidence to the contrary before them (that's why they have "faith"). You would not be a religious person if you did otherwise.

Re:Not news (0)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852781)

It's been just about impossible to criticize the religious beliefs of anyone for decades,

Wow, cognitive bias much? Lots [wikipedia.org] of people [wikipedia.org] criticize [madmikesamerica.com] religious beliefs [fairmormon.org] . It's kind of a national past-time, you wouldn't believe how much the early puritans criticized each other. Dawkins has gotten a lot of publicity in the last decade criticizing religion, and Christopher Hitchens (may God rest his soul) got in on it too. If you haven't seen people criticizing religion, you haven't been paying attention.

Re:Not news (2)

fredgiblet (1063752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852951)

I think you aren't understanding his point (because he doesn't really convey it well). You can criticize religion, however doing so in the US makes you automatically the Bad Guy. It doesn't matter if you're right, all that matters is that you are attacking the sacred cow of religion and that's not allowed.

Re:Not news (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853019)

You can criticize religion, however doing so in the US makes you automatically the Bad Guy.

Being an atheist automatically divides you into a different group than most of America. It doesn't mean everyone will hate you, or that you can't criticize religion; it means you are a minority, and most people will think you are wrong.

If you need to be comforted by the support of crowds, then don't be an atheist.

Re:Not news (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853233)

I don't think that's true at all. That's just the perspective of a religious person. To others, anyone who cuts religion any slack is automatically the Bad Guy.

Re:Not news (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852837)

I tend to believe rather like Thomas Jefferson, I think, on this matter.

"I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged." -- Thomas Jefferson

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

(But of course we have the objection that certain "religions" have done those very things, even today. In which case we might rightly oppose them.)

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Re:Not news (-1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852929)

It's been just about impossible to criticize the religious beliefs of anyone for decades, and it's almost impossible to curb inappropriate and in-your-face religious behaviors because of the sacrosanct rule that religion is somehow immune to interference from the secular world, and that's why religious craziness around the world is on the rise.

Beh, hardly. The only religious group that is going to actually go out of your way and actually hurt you for "criticizing your beliefs" is Muslims. Try it, go on. I'll wait. People criticize Christians all the time, they do it to Jews, and Taoists, and Hindu's and all the rest without a problem. No mass slaughters either. Hell they desecrate their idols, blow up their sanctuaries, destroy their churches, synagogues, and places of worship, they attack their god, and gods. Burn their books, and holy texts. And narry a peep, except for them to look at you in disgust for it, or perhaps to flee if you're the one brandishing a weapon at them. And it usually doesn't come to actual violence in those cases unless they're pushed right up against the wall, like the copts in egypt, or buddhists in thailand, where civil order has fully broken down.

But, you do any of that to a muslim, and you'll get riots in the street. They'll threaten to kill you, draw their prophet and they'll threaten to behead you. Meh, your post is one sided, and terribly so.

Re:Not news (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853341)

You can lambast religion all day long on Slashdot, except if it's Islam. Leftists would normally prefer only atheism (with a goodly amount of earth worship thrown in, that is), but tolerate that religion because at least it's not one of the many non-evil ones in the world.

Joyce Ehrlinger is Stupid (3, Funny)

ClassicASP (1791116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852569)

Joyce Ehrlinger from Florida State University is stupid! She has absolutely no idea what she's talking about! Pure rubbish! She should just drop out of the American Psychological Association right now and save us all a bunch of pain and headache! She has no idea what she's talking about! None! Pure bullox!

Counterpoint (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852577)

Anonymous Coward: FROST PIST

What the Moderators do: -5 Off Topic
What the Anonymous Coward sees: +5 Attention.

This is not how negative feedback was supposed to work.

That's where subtle hints and irony get in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852593)

Too bad that Americans don't get irony. At all.

Re:That's where subtle hints and irony get in. (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852639)

Then use sarcasm, which is a form of irony everybody understands. Be prepared to get your teeth knocked out regularly though, because good sarcasm usually insults the intended recipient a lot more than plain statements.

Re:That's where subtle hints and irony get in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852995)

Yeah, right.

Re:That's where subtle hints and irony get in. (3, Insightful)

gedankenhoren (2001086) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852801)

I have noticed two things related to this:

1. The term `irony` is often used to refer to heavily-veiled passive aggression.

1a. I think Millon provides a great description of the sort of behavior we all have encountered, although no longer (as of DSM-IV) considered a personality disorder: "They cannot decide whether to adhere to the desires of others [...] or to to turn to themselves [...], whether to be obediently dependent on others or defiantly resistant and independent of them, whether to take the initiative in mastering their world or to sit idly by, passively awaiting the leadership of others; they vacillate, then, like the proverbial donkey, moving first one way and then the other, never quite settling on which bale of hay is best. [...] ...only one essential trait is specified in characterizing the passive-aggressive personality type, that of resistance to external demands" (Millon 1981, Disorders of Personality, 244-245).

1b. I think (1a) is part of the reason why you might say that "Americans don't get irony... [a]t all". You might be confusing their lack of appreciation for irony with their recognition of and consequent disregard for passive aggression. Also, irony is highly culturally dependent.

2. My preferred method of dealing with the chronically overconfident is to ask kind and honest questions. I do not use irony; I do not use passive aggression; I do not throw punches. Instead, I assume that these people are telling the truth or overcompensating b/c of some hidden anxiety. In the first case, I think they're wrong; in the second, I think they're in need of growth. For either, I've found that the best response is to be gentle and to learn about their presuppositions.

Retort (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852607)

Well your faith in your friends is yours.

It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852623)

"Politeness" does not mean no negative feedback... and never has.

One can be polite, and even friendly, while still giving negative feedback. This "no negative feedback" bullshit is a result of those defunct social theories that we had to bolster kids' self-esteem at the cost of truth.

As far as I am aware, this is the first time this has been a significant problem. As polite as societies have been in the past, negative feedback has never, to the best of my knowledge, been a problem.

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852881)

It has to do with education taking over teaching.

If I pay someone money to teach me, say, playing piano or tennis, I expect him to point out my weaknesses. No matter how polite he is, he probably won't keep me motivated if I never seem to develop in playing. (I've taught guitar myself and seen this every time.)

The problem is there is nowadays no goal education is aiming to. It's just something vague about "growing up". With no goals and no measure you've personally chosen you can not feel your progress, and consequently it is very hard to keep motivated. The self esteem and feeling good is all there is left to motivate you.

My advice is: ditch education. Growing up happens naturally. Just do stuff and get better in it. (Provided it is legal :-)

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852903)

I would add to your point that to even frame the discussion using only "positive" and "negative" feedback means one is already caught up in the same tired old dialectic rattrap that has defined much of man's social, ethical, economic, and governmental structures since the days of Marx.

When a person has grown up in a dialectic culture system, they really don't know anything other than "positive" and "negative" and in essence, their ability to communicate, in full, has been crippled. Of course the degree of crippling varies from individual to individual, as one would expect.

One of the ways "negative" feedback is proffered politely in the modern world is via the "let me play devil's advocate for a moment" mechanism. It depersonalizes the negativity using the "safe word" (phrase) and the discussion can go on without someone's emotional train jumping off the rails due to a "negativity" overload.

Ehrlinger's findings are themselves so "polite" to the point of being somewhat inane. "Overconfidence" is hardly the right word. I might use "socially inept and generally obnoxious". It might be mildly obnoxious most of the time, but it is obnoxious all the same.

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852921)

I agree completely with you but want to go further by saying that the deduction that the researcher has made is too simplistic to be correct.

My argument is based on cultural comparison. I have recently visited a few countries around the world and the three that seem relevant here are England, Switzerland and Japan.

I would summarise that in general the culture of these counties is one of absolute politeness. People from these cultures do not generally "make a fuss" in public.

However, of all the people around the world that I know this "overconfidence" is a predominantly American trait. Sure, plenty of tossers (as such a person would be called in the local language) in the UK and Australia, but many many more of them in the USA.

So there must be some other mechanism that creates it, because being polite doesn't seem to be it.

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853201)

While I agree 100% with you, read the title of the paper. "Politeness and not being honest." So it is that people are being too polite and not being honest and telling the truth. That is the crux of the issue. That whole concept "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything." If people are "sparing the rod" then you end up with spoiling the child.

I am not trying to be a cliche machine, but at the end of the day, all of this is known. The problem is society and political correctness want people to not tell people the "uncomfortable truth".

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853325)

As far as I am aware, this is the first time this has been a significant problem. As polite as societies have been in the past, negative feedback has never, to the best of my knowledge, been a problem.

In the interest of honesty, I have to tell you that you are overestimating your knowledge on the subject. You know absolutely knothing about how much this has been a problem in the past.

Re:It's all that old "Self Esteem" nonsense. (1)

cr_nucleus (518205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853477)

One can be polite, and even friendly, while still giving negative feedback. This "no negative feedback" bullshit is a result of those defunct social theories that we had to bolster kids' self-esteem at the cost of truth.

I believe that it's related to the widespread confusion of form and substance.
You can point at issues in someone's performance in a very nice manner and alternatively you can give some praise in a very displeasing way.

It could also be connected to the fact that it's often confusing to like and not like something at the same time and possibly for the very same reasons (btw, that's ambivalence [wikipedia.org] ).

Encouraging someone does not require lying.

Overconfidence may be a weakness (4, Funny)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852659)

But what's the alternative when you're running an empire? Faith in your friends?

I don't think so.

Re:Overconfidence may be a weakness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852959)

The average person of today is not made of the right stuff to run empires. The assertion is laughable. For the most part, those that are destined for the path of empire, are not raised in the artificial and limited "positive" and "negative" worldview framework, but the continuum of reality. Which includes every form of positive, negative, and mixture thereof.

Rather, it is the "slave" class that is raised to be afraid of the full range of human emotion and communication. Of course this leads to pervasive dishonesty and corruption which is why we end up with huge failures like Fukushima. It gets very hard to cut the crap and get to authentic facts and make quality decisions using facts. Most of the world is like this -- long on crap and short on facts -- including the individuals, the corporations, and the governments. Nothing of quality can be built on a foundation of dishonesty.

But you can go back to running your empire. Even if it is only in your favorite online game.

Re:Overconfidence may be a weakness (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853515)

The average person of today is not made of the right stuff to run empires. The assertion is laughable. For the most part, those that are destined for the path of empire, are not raised in the artificial and limited "positive" and "negative" worldview framework, but the continuum of reality. Which includes every form of positive, negative, and mixture thereof.

Rather, it is the "slave" class that is raised to be afraid of the full range of human emotion and communication. Of course this leads to pervasive dishonesty and corruption which is why we end up with huge failures like Fukushima. It gets very hard to cut the crap and get to authentic facts and make quality decisions using facts. Most of the world is like this -- long on crap and short on facts -- including the individuals, the corporations, and the governments. Nothing of quality can be built on a foundation of dishonesty.

But you can go back to running your empire. Even if it is only in your favorite online game.

I guess you're not a Star Wars fan.

I knew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852661)

I knew my being a dick was good for people.

That is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852723)

That is why I have taken it up to myself to insult everybody I know.
Gone with the overconfidence.

Steve Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852785)

Overconfidence is definitely not caused by politeness.

2nd place is first looser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852793)

The next time you see someone win a silver or bronze just remember they are being rewarded for being a looser.

Wow I need to meet these people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852833)

"Social norms, Ehrlinger says, are the reason that we are averse to giving negative feedback."

I've been hanging with the wrong crowd apparently! The social norm around here IS negative feedback!

That's why there are internet message boards (1)

infidel_heathen (2652993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852853)

For honest feedback, there is nothing like anonymity. You guys all suck ass by the way...

Re:That's why there are internet message boards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852989)

You guys all suck ass by the way...

Yeah, but not yours. Too much lard.

Expected Value (2)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852871)

My interpretation: Social politeness did not spring up out of nowhere accidentally. There are good reasons for it. One is: The expected value to myself, if I were to correct some total stranger -- and risk their displeasure, argumentation, lost time, possible hostility -- is pretty much nil.

What do I care if some doofus loudmouth on the bus, or a convenience store, or a random psychological experiment I got thrown in, thinks they're funny or has nutjob political or religious beliefs? The chance of my opinion changing them is close to zero. Aside from that, the time and hassle expense to my day is probably significant; the chance of their reacting in a defensive and hostile manner is pretty high. Aside from that, my chance of running into them again ever in my life, such that I receive some later benefit is also nil. Hence the politeness protocol of smiling noncommittally and getting the hell away from them.

(Side issue: I've never understand "road age" of the ilk "I'll teach that bastard a lesson!". Given someone that cuts you off, you'll never see them again, so any lesson you could conceivably give won't generate you any benefit. Let 'em go and maximize your distance from the crazies.)

Now, if someone is being truly irrational and is an intimate of yours, such that you have to deal with them all the time, then the equation changes; being honest with them will hopefully improve your mutual relationship and time spent together. Conjecture -- Perhaps a society which increases mobility, depersonalization, and time spent with strangers has a propensity to become more and more dishonest and delusional.

Re:Expected Value (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853191)

What do I care if some doofus loudmouth on the bus, or a convenience store, or a random psychological experiment I got thrown in, thinks they're funny or has nutjob political or religious beliefs? The chance of my opinion changing them is close to zero.

That's a good argument. I am losing my mod points to post this. Your point is that we are polite (sic impersonal) to people whom we aren't closely associated. That's true up to an extent but we are living in a society that actually encourages overconfident (sic rude) and boisterous behavior. In a family, the assertive sibling prevails over the quieter ones, more looked after by the parents, at work the loudmouth employee prevails over his peers and is more favored by the boss. Consciously or subconsciously we all appreciate overconfident behavior unless it affects us personally. But there is a visible shift in social perception of overconfidence, what was considered overconfident behavior in past (say 60's) is now more acceptable, and a standard behavior more or less.

Pretty much explains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852907)

James Holmes

Well... (2)

matunos (1587263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852909)

Any conversation over the internet should quickly solve that problem.

Why Muslims think they're the religion of peace (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852917)

That's why Muslims think they're the religion of peace. People on't tell them they're not because they know they will get their head cut off for doing so.

Re:Why Muslims think they're the religion of peace (5, Insightful)

gorgonymus gorgward (1936324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853337)

In every office, standing by the water cooler, there is a person. Let's call him Joe. Joe tells stories about his weekend, followed by jokes about his in-laws, and everyone politely laughs as they shuffle around him to get their cup of water. "Why does Joe continue telling these jokes?" everyone wonders.

That's the first few lines of TFA.
Later:

Since society has taught us not to hurt other people's feelings, we rarely hear the truth about ourselves, even when we really deserve it. And sometimes that politesse can have negative ramifications.

Now, let's translate them to other people who do not share your understanding of Islam:

In every office, standing by the water cooler, there is a person. Let's call him Achmed. Achmed tells stories about his religion, followed by assumptions about how it is a religion of peace, and everyone politely agrees as they shuffle around him to get their cup of water. "Will he cut my head off if I tell him I think that is total BS?" everyone wonders.

[...]

Since society has taught us to expect our head to be cut off by any muslim we disagree with, we rarely hear the truth about ourselves, even when we really deserve it. And sometimes that fear can have negative ramifications.

Except that you didn't read TFA and just shat a comment out of your hate filled mouth (keyboard).

Why should I care (and why am I feeding the troll)?

I'm not a muslim/theist anymore, but I was born muslim and have some family and friends who still are.

None of them have ever cut my head off or that of any other person who disagreed with them. Nevertheless everyday I see scum such as you spewing hate left and right about shit you don't even care to try to understand and getting ignored (at best) or modded +1 I-too-hate/fear-muslims.

(Yea I'm new here, I expect people to RTFA)

dont forget the converse. (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852977)

According to this theory, if you are dont get negative feedback it makes you confident so you act polite and dishonest then conversely if you get a lot of negative feedback it makes you unsure of yourself so you are rude but truthful. I get a lot of flack for pointing these kind of things out but this this theory is total bunk.

OH SHIT! PARADOX!

"You didn't lose, you were the last winner" (4, Interesting)

manwargi (1361031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853051)

George Carlin [youtube.com] totally warned us.

you can be both honest and compassionate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853097)

my cool story bro

I was a fitness instructor and my job was was to get flabbos at various degrees of decay into shape

you never said "that is terrible try harder" you always said "thats pretty good, you did X well, here is what you can do to make Y better"

if you truly want to help people you need to be willing to expend energy (time, attention) toward them

this is why internet "haterz" are a GOOD THING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853141)

it lets people get honest feedback. think of all the guys who are terrible at guitar but they play shitty songs for their girlfriend or whatever and she doesn't want to hurt his feelings so she tells him he's good. then he feels like he's the man so he videotapes himself and uploads to youtube. then when everyone tells him he sucks he cries about "haterz" but at least now he know the truth.

the problem is when somebody gives you a fake compliment if you say "oh spare me i know i suck" then they'll say some crap like "don't put urself down, i really liked it!" so it's like now when somebody gives you fake positive feedback you can't even tell them to fuck off you have to pretend to agree, that's the worst part of this problem. but again, nobody blows smoke up your ass on the internet so thank god for "internet haterz".

Re:this is why internet "haterz" are a GOOD THING (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853371)

Problem is, many (if not most) "internet haterz" are just trolling, acting out, and generally trying to be disruptive. They're not being honest, just spiteful.

negative feedback (1)

greycortex (600578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853155)

At my job, I guess I'm not socially polite at all. I give negative feed back all of the time. There's no positive way to tell someone that they did a horrible, horrible job, and they need to re-do it after formulating a coherent plan.

true especially in the workplace (5, Insightful)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853257)

In my experience this overconfidence as a result of politeness is true in my workplace, and in past workplaces as well.

Being generally polite, and not giving explicit negative feedback to annoying, unfunny, awkward, disrupting people finds justification in a kind of tacit, unconscious consent to be accepting and tolerant of everyone.
This works kinda all right, and makes it for a peaceful, sometimes even happy environment, and reduces the chances for conflict.

I have witnessed two scenarios where this politeness strategy fails utterly to both create a pleasant environment and to avoid conflict.

One scenario is that of a massively disrupting individual, who is not aware of the consequences of his words and actions.
Sometimes, like a current temporary colleague of mine, the guy is actually not a bad person at all, he is just not very perceptive of subtle signals (like awkward silences etc), looks very much emotionally vulnerable and unstable, which makes it undesirable to confront him about the issue, and has probably never been explicitly and seriously criticized for his disruptive behavior, resulting in a combination of fragility and overconfidence.
Responding to such an individual seems to cause problems whichever strategy is employed (honesty, politeness, etc).

The other scenario is that of a smart, socially-aware, perceptive, self-serving truly evil person.
These people analyze these social situations carefully and are able to detect these weaknesses in the social construct, and take advantage of them. They are therefore able to belittle, disrupt, take advantage of, subvert, out-compete their co-workers, because they know that if they are subtle enough, if they target their attacks carefully enough, nobody will directly accuse them of anything.

Note that I know that I myself have issues with detecting more subtle messages, and I know that my ego is vulnerable to lack of negative feedback as well. I try to ask people around me for truthful advice when in doubt, but in general I profit from this tolerant, polite social construct as well.

I am not sure about how to organize a better social construct that is both honest and peaceful and tolerant, and I am not sure it is possible to do it in a perfect way for all situations and for all compositions of individuals.
It seems to be a long standing problem with establishing and enforcing norms in societies.

Keep Your Friends Close, And Your Enemies Closer - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853359)

Everyone needs a good rival, even enemies. You know why? Friends are never honest with you. They'll tell you that you're doing good when you're actually doing bad. They don't criticize. They lie, they bullshit, they do everything they can to keep face with you, because they don't want to feel bad for making you feel bad. Too often the truth hurts the person telling it much more than the person who's supposed to be listening.

When you screw up around your enemies, though, they don't hesitate to be critical. They don't care about your feelings. They'll lay into you. They don't have a reputation to protect with you, and they have every reason to dig at your self-perception and undermine your big fat ego. They're much more honest, because they don't think that you expect them to lie and they wouldn't give a rat's ass if you did.

This is what trust is in the age of political correctness and inflated self esteem - taking comfort in the knowledge that while your friends will stab you in the back, your foes will stab you in the gut. A saccharine culture of perpetual lying.

wYOU FAIL IT? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853397)

only way to go: mod points and Don't be afraid the project as 4 moronic, dilettante they want you to distributions OS I do, because users aal over the than make a sincere
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>