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A moratorium on strong recommendations is needed | The BMJ

Medicine is addicted to so-called hopium, an unwarranted confidence in the value of its tests and treatments. Clinicians overestimate their value,1 while experts on guideline panels make strong recommendations about care backed by untrustworthy evidence.2 Rigorous guideline methods can highlight this problem, but they are far from a perfect antidote—it is time for a moratorium on strong recommendations. In a linked paper (doi:10.1136/BMJ-2021-066045),3 Yao and colleagues report that almost half (1246 of 2528) of the recommendations issued by the leading American cardiology and oncology professional societies were strong, “just do it” recommendations.4 About a quarter (354 of these were based on low certainty evidence. Compared to a consensus process, an evidence based guideline process reduced the risk of issuing such inappropriately strong recommendations, but not completely: the evidence based approach produced about a third (105 of 354) of the inappropriately strong recommendations in this study. Most of them simply conveyed the panels’ overconfidence in the benefit of following their recommendation.

People in higher social class have an exaggerated belief that they are better than others: Overconfidence can be misinterpreted by others as greater competence, perpetuating social hierarchies, study says -- ScienceDaily

Applicants were also required to complete a psychological assessment that would be used to assess their credit worthiness. Part of that included a flashcard game, a cognitive test where participants are shown an image that goes away after they press a key and is replaced by a second image. They then have to determine whether the second image matches the first. After completing 20 trials, applicants were asked to indicate how they performed in comparison with others on a scale of 1 to 100. When the researchers compared the actual scores with applicants' predictions, they found that people with more education, more income and a higher perceived social class had an exaggerated belief that they would perform better than others, compared with their lower-class counterparts. Another two investigations involving more than 1,400 online participants found a similar association between social class and overconfidence. In one, the researchers gave participants a trivia test. Those from a higher social class thought that they did better than others; however, when the researchers examined actual performance, it was not the case. For the final investigation, the researchers recruited 236 undergraduate students, had each answer a 15-item trivia quiz and asked them to predict how they fared compared with others. They also asked them to rate their social class and for their families' income and their mothers' and fathers' education levels. A week later, the students were brought back to the lab for a videotaped mock hiring interview. More than 900 judges, recruited online, each watched one of the videos and rated their impression of the applicant's competence.

Listeners get an idea of the personality of the speaker through his voice -- ScienceDaily

Ratings of perceived personality were highly consistent among listeners regardless of the language in which voices were evaluated. That is, listeners agree in their judgments of whether a given voice sounds aggressive or confident. This suggests that there must be certain invariant properties of the voice that indicate how trustworthy or competent a person is. This is in line with the idea that we can train ourselves to sound more or less competent, more or less dominant, depending on the context (e.g., job interviews). After hearing just one word, listeners rapidly create a social voice space, where voices are grouped according to two main dimensions, one emphasizing traits of valence (trustworthiness, warmth) and other emphasizing strength (dominance, aggressiveness). These two personality dimensions are very relevant and respond to evolutionary pressures. Obtaining information about the intent of the others helps individuals to appropriately evaluate whether to approach or to avoid interaction with others.

Teens who help strangers have more confidence: Get your kids involved in service to strangers in this season of giving, researchers suggest -- ScienceDaily

In the study, researchers looked at 681 adolescents, 11-14 years old, in two U.S. cities. They tracked them for four different time points, starting in 2008 through 2011. The participants responded to 10 statements such as "I feel useless at times" or "I am satisfied with myself" to assess self-esteem. Prosocial behavior was measured by self-reports, looking at various aspects of kindness and generosity, such as "I help people I don't know, even if it's not easy for me" or "I go out of my way to cheer up my friends" or "I really enjoy doing small favors for my family." "A unique feature of this study is that it explores helping behaviors toward multiple different targets," Padilla-Walker said. "Not all helping is created equal, and we're finding that prosocial behavior toward strangers is protective in a variety of ways that is unique from other types of helping. Another important finding is that the link between prosocial behavior and self-esteem is over a one-year time period and present across all three age lags in our study. Though not an overly large effect, this suggests a stable link between helping and feeling better about oneself across the early adolescent years."

Adderall Concentration Benefits in Doubt: New Study

The last question they asked their subjects was: "How and how much did the pill influence your performance on today's tests?" Those subjects who had been given Adderall were significantly more likely to report that the pill had caused them to do a better job on the tasks they'd been given, even though their performance did not show an improvement over that of those who had taken the placebo.

Manipulating brain activity to boost confidence | EurekAlert! Science News

"Surprisingly, by continuously pairing the occurrence of the highly confident state with a reward - a small amount of money - in real-time, we were able to do just that: when participants had to rate their confidence in the perceptual task at the end of the training, their were consistently more confident". Dr. Hakwan Lau, Associate Professor in the UCLA Psychology Department, was the senior author on the study and an expert in confidence and metacognition: "Crucially, in this study confidence was measured quantitatively via rigorous psychophysics, making sure the effects were not just a change of mood or simple reporting strategy. Such changes in confidence took place even though the participants performed the relevant task at the same performance level".