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Confidence to spare: individual differences in cognitive and metacognitive arrogance and competence

  • Sabina KleitmanEmail author
  • Jessica Sik-Wai Hui
  • Yixin Jiang
Article
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Abstract

While some individuals are able to confidently make competent choices, others make poor decisions but are unjustifiably confident. What are their individual characteristics? This study examined individual differences in cognitive and metacognitive competence and arrogance. In doing so, we determined the role of metacognitive confidence and self-monitoring in competence and arrogance. We also investigated the predictive validity of the resulting model to decision-making competence. Psychology undergraduates (N = 180) completed measures of intelligence, on-task confidence, arrogant-and dogmatic-like traits and thinking dispositions. Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed that the most parsimonious solution was a hierarchical two-factor model defined by broad Cognitive and Metacognitive Competence and Arrogance factors. The broad Competence was defined by positive loadings from Intelligence and Confidence factors and a negative loading from the Dogmatism factor. The broad Arrogance factor was defined by positive loadings from Confidence, Arrogance, and Dogmatism factors, but no loading from the Intelligence. Therefore, the study determined that the Confidence trait loaded on both factors while a first-order Intelligence factor loaded on Competence only. Thus, while arrogant individuals were as confident as competent individuals, this confidence was not justified by their performance and ability. Moreover, Arrogance positively predicted higher bias, confidence, prediction and evaluation estimates, but not actual performance on a decision task. In contrast, the Competence factor positively predicted the accuracy of performance. Supporting and extending the Koriat’s (1997) cue utilization theory, the current results indicated that test- and (systematic) individual-specific sources of diagnostic cues underlie judgment accuracy, however, they seem to play different roles for individuals based on their relative standing within the Cognitive and Metacognitive Competence and Arrogance taxonomy. Extending Dunning et.al (2003), some “people tend to be blissfully unaware of their incompetence” and are “triply cursed” as they are also dogmatic.

Keywords

Confidence Competence Arrogance Self-monitoring Bias Metacognition Decisionmaking Individual differences 

Notes

Funding

This project was not funded.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Sydney’s Human Research Ethics Committee (ID#2015/208).

Conflict of interest

The first author of this manuscript is acting as the Associate Editor of the Metacognition and Learning journal and the Guest Editor of the SI titled Applied Metacognition. The manuscript, however, will be handled by the second Guest Editor of this SI, Prof Susanne Narciss. Thus, the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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