Recent research from America suggest it “ain’t necessarily so”.
It seems people admire cocky people even when their pretensions are exposed.
“Confidence is compelling to observers because in the absence of information to the contrary observers assume it reflects superior ability” say behavioural researchers in Organisational Behaviour & Human Decision Processes.
Actual talent appears irrelevant. The sense of competence lingers even after it’s been shown to be a sham say the researchers at the universities of Pennsylvania and California.
“Being perceived to possess the valued characteristics is the key to attaining higher status – it’s not necessary to actual possess them”.
Previously it was assumed that such over-confident charlatans would eventually be punished by their peers but it seems people are far more tolerant of failure – at least in the USA.
If the overconfident person has created peer impressions which persist groups may not punish them even after discovering that the confidence was unjustified.
Interestingly in the experiments, in which participants were asked to rate each other’s status, confidence, and ability as well as their own, those who rated their own ability highest were accorded high status by the others.
Previous research has suggested that being arrogant gives people the impression that you actually are superior.