How Does Social Media Sharing Make Us Overconfident? Surprising Study Finds

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Psychology News

Researchers at The University of Texas, Austin, studied how social media sharing of information makes people overestimate their knowledge. The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The Study

In order to understand how sharing knowledge over social media makes us overconfident, the researchers conducted a series of experiments. The participants were asked to complete several tasks, namely, sharing articles on social media and undergoing tests that cross-checked their “expert identity”.

Then, the research team assessed the participants’ subjective and objective knowledge of each article—what the participants thought they knew and what they actually knew.

The Findings

The results revealed that when it comes to posting on social media, people internalize their sharing into a self-concept. This leads to a rise in confidence and makes them believe that they are as knowledgeable as their posts make them appear.

Therefore, when people post articles on social media—without reading the content in the articles—they appear to think that they know more about the articles’ topics than they actually do.

One of the lead researchers, Susan M. Broniarczyk, elaborated: “If people feel more knowledgeable on a topic, they also feel they maybe don’t need to read or learn additional information on that topic. This miscalibrated sense of knowledge can be hard to correct.

To Know More You May Refer To

Ward, A. F., Zheng, J. (Frank), & Broniarczyk, S. M. (2022). I share, therefore I know? Sharing online content ‐ even without reading it ‐ inflates subjective knowledge. Journal of Consumer Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1321

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