Tag Archives: overconfidence bias

Google: helpful or misleading?


If you’ve never used Google before then I’m sorry don’t read my blog. Realistically, I know that everyone has used Google whether you use it everyday, every week, or every month we all use it for some purpose in our lives. We Google how to get from point a to point b, random facts about things like frogs average lifespan, capitals of countries, definitions of words we don’t know, images of cute puppies, biography’s of famous people, anything we want to know more about we Google.

As I was looking for an interesting article to talk about in our blog, I came across this article saying “Google makes people feel smarter than they really are.” I laughed and was automatically cued in to know more about this. The article mentioned a study that suggests instant, online access to information magnifies people’s sense of their own intelligence. So what does this mean? People think they’re smarter than they actually are.

In the study, Matthew Fisher, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University, had a team of hundreds of people engage in a series of experiments. In one experiment, people were divided into two groups and asked to answer random questions such as “How does a zipper work?” One group was told they could search out the answer on the Internet, but the other was not given that resource.Those who searched for information on the Internet believed they were smarter about topics unrelated to their online searches, compared to people in a “control” group who didn’t use the Internet in the experiment.

In another experiment, participants were shown images that supposedly showed samples of activity in brains — their brains and the brains of others — as tracked by MRI. Those who frequently used Internet searches typically chose the “smarter-looking,” more active brain images as being their own brains.

We learned something in cognitive psychology called overconfidence bias which says people tend to be overconfident in their knowledge. Overconfidence biases say it is at it’s greatest when accuracy is lowest and decreases as accuracy improves yet, confidence doesn’t change with accuracy. Linking this back to the article, it seems as if people are becoming overconfident with their own knowledge because of the easy access to the internet like Google. Therefore, humanity is increasing the overconfidence bias. So not only do we have an inflated sense of our intelligence, but we are confident about that it’s actually accurate.

Technology is a growing rapidly every day and if there is one thing I want anyone to take from this article/blog is that just because you can Google something in less than a minute to find an answer does not mean you know EVERYTHING. We don’t need humanity to think we are superheros or  brain geniuses because it will lead us to make poor decision on things we don’t know a lot about but THINK we know a great deal about it. Accurate personal knowledge is difficult to achieve, and the Internet may be making that task even harder because we think we are smart due to the internet.

I took the liberty of Googling, “What would life be like without Google?” Sure enough I got an answer and it led me to any interesting article (that includes pictures)  of “13 Things We Can’t Do Without Google.” It took me about a minute to go through so check it out!