Research: When Overconfidence Is an Asset, and When It’s a Liability

W. Wayne Lockwood, M.D./Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

What happens to people who are overconfident? Are they generally rewarded, promoted, and respected? Or do we distrust them and avoid collaborating with them? Our research suggests it may depend on how they express confidence.

One way people express confidence is verbally. We make specific, numeric expressions of confidence in our judgments, such as when making probabilistic forecasts (e.g., I’m 90% sure), or when estimating our performance...

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