Insight Into One's Own Abilities Only Moderate

Insight in self-evaluation better for more specific performances rather than broad tasks

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals have only moderate insight into their own abilities and skills, according to research published in the March issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Ethan Zell, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and Zlatan Krizan, Ph.D., from Iowa State University in Ames, examined the overall alignment between self-evaluations of ability (e.g., academic ability, intelligence, language competence, medical skills, sports ability, and vocational skills) and objective performance measures (e.g., standardized test scores, grades, and supervisor evaluations) across 22 meta-analyses.

The researchers found that the mean correlation between ability self-evaluations and performance outcomes across meta-analyses was moderate, despite a range of individual effects (0.09 to 0.63). When self-evaluations were specific to a given domain, the relation was stronger, rather than either broad evaluations or when performance tasks were objective, familiar, or low in complexity.

"Taken together, these findings indicate that people have only moderate insight into their abilities but also underscore the contextual factors that enable accurate self-perception of ability," the authors write.

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