Researchers at the University of Texas in the US studied the extent to which people think they own the knowledge available on the Internet. The study shows that people overestimate their knowledge. The biggest culprit in the whole story is search engines like Google. this says Wouter Dweck, professor of psychology at the University of Ghent, in “New Facts.”
There is no doubt that the Internet has democratized knowledge and information. Whatever areas someone’s interests lie in, you can always learn something online. Dweck is also aware of this: “We live in a massive knowledge society. Knowledge is constantly disseminated and is constantly available on the Internet, ensuring that no one knows everything anymore.”
People overestimate their knowledge
However, many people assume that the Internet has made people smarter. But this is not yet clear, according to the results of the survey. Instant access to information provided by search engines such as Google gives people confidence in their ability to remember and process information. People view Google as the third hemisphere of the brain, and as a result they overestimate their general knowledge.
The researchers organized a series of experiments with nearly 2,000 people, asking the people quiz questions. They were presented with questions in the style of “what do you call a baby shark.” Half were allowed to search for the answer on Google, and the other contestants were only allowed to rely on their own memory Dweck explains.
“Unsurprisingly, it turns out that people who use Google score better. Google researchers are asked how smart they are and whether they have a better memory than others. The answer is twice as positive. But this does not quite match the reality: although people Those who use Google score better, they overestimate their knowledge.”
In another experiment, researchers brought a new group of test subjects into the lab and again asked them tough questions like Madonna’s hometown. The result turned out to be unchanged: people who use Google to search for this kind of trivia overestimate themselves afterwards. “They really think they know more, but they will also do better than others in future tests,” says the professor.
The researchers then examined whether this was indeed the case. After all, people might get a confidence boost from finding all those crap stuff on the internet. They were presented with tough questions again and guess what: they don’t score better at all. So it’s definitely an overestimate of self.”
The researchers wondered why and where the confusion arises from that people really believe that the things they are looking for are already in their brain. To find out, they added a new set of subjects to the experiment.
These respondents were asked questions and before they were allowed to search for the answer on Google, they had to write down what they thought the answer to be. This way, respondents quickly realized whether or not they knew the answer.
This leads to an amazing result. “If you force people to think in advance whether they know or not, they won’t overestimate themselves. Overestimation only happens if people don’t look into their memory beforehand,” says Dweck.
In another experiment, people were allowed to use Google, but the researchers made the search engine run with a 25-second delay. So people could search for the answer, but in the meantime they had to wait 25 seconds to get it. In the meantime, they tried to think for themselves about the answer and found, for example, that they did not know the so-called small shark. But when Google gives the answer after 25 seconds, it turns out that the test subjects do not consider themselves smarter than others.
So how do we overestimate ourselves by Google? Dweck: “The answer appears even before we call our minds. And soon people think they would have known if they had thought about it themselves.”
Overestimating oneself is a double story
According to the professor, then it is a double story. In his view, overestimation is not necessarily bad, but can also have negative consequences: “Imagine that doctors and virologists think they have all the knowledge available on the Internet, when this is not the case.”
“This can lead to overestimations and medical misjudgments. The Internet is there and we can use it, but if there is not enough inside knowledge in the long run, people may not be able to store all this information. Search the Internet efficiently.”
Source: vrtnws.be and new facts
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