We often overestimate our explanatory prowess, exhibiting an illusion of explanatory depth (IOED). In the IOED paradigm, participants initially rate their explanatory ability (Time 1) and then after writing out as complete of an explanation as they can, they rerated their ability (Time 2). People show a consistent drop from Time 1 to Time 2 in their reported understanding of such things as common artifacts, word meanings, and political issues. The IOED is one facet of a broader family of phenomena in which people make inaccurate self‐assessments, often being far more confident about their abilities than is warranted.People especially overrate their own ability both with general knowledge of the kind the old used to foist on the young, but things are not always better in areas of technical expertise:
The relationship between expertise and overconfidence is not straightforward. It sometimes is associated with reductions in overconfidence and other times with increases.People with technical knowledge, the authors note, may be especially reluctant to admit that they don't know.