Realism of confidence judgments

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This paper addresses measurement and conceptual issues related to the realism of people’s confidence judgments about their own cognitive abilities. We employed three cognitive tests: listening and reading subtests from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) and a synonyms vocabulary test. The sample consisted of community college students. Our results show that the participants tend to be overconfident about their cognitive abilities on most tasks, representing poor realism. Significant group differences were noted with respect to gender and race/ethnicity: female and European American participants showed smaller levels of overconfidence than males and African Americans or Hispanics. We point out that there appear to be significant individual differences in the understanding of subjective probabilities, and these differences can influence the realism of confidence judgments.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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