Confident Multitaskers Are the Most Dangerous Behind the Wheel

How good are you at multi-tasking? The way you answer that question may actually tell you more than you think, because according to recent research:

  • The better people think they are at multitasking, the worse they are at it.
  • The more that you think you are good at it, the more likely you are to multi-task when driving.
  • The problem of distracted driving has more to do with your inability to recognize your own limits.
  • People overestimate their own qualities in a number of areas including intelligence, physical health and popularity.

This study is another reminder that we are surprisingly poor judges of our own abilities. Furthermore, the worse we are at something, the more likely we may be to judge ourselves as competent at it. Psychologists have studied how incompetence, ironically, is often the result of not being able to accurately judge one’s own incompetence.

In one study, they found that people who scored the lowest on tests of grammar and logic were the most likely to overestimate their own abilities. The reverse was also true: the more competent people were most likely to underestimate their abilities. And multi-tasking may be just yet another area where incompetence breeds over-confidence.

Given these results, what might be effective at stopping people from multi-tasking when behind the wheel? Probably not more scare tactics. Instead of more laws and fines, the government may want to send a message that ‘most people no longer think it is appropriate to use cell phones when driving’. If people buy-in to this message about what others are doing, they may be less likely to do it themselves.

The original article can be found here.

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