Are you an above average driver?

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Yesterday I posted this….

Imagine that you are in a room with 100 people. They are all the same age and sex as you, and are from roughly the same background. In walks a driving instructor. He is going to test the driving skills of everyone in the room, and will give each person a score that reflects their skill and safety.

Do you think that you would be placed in the top half of the group?

As a few of you pointed out, this is a standard question used by psychologists to measure unrealistic optimism (sometimes called optimistic bias).  The majority of people tend to think that they are above average when it comes to anything positive, such as driving skills, interview technique or sense of humour (roughly 95% of people say that they have an above average sense of humour!).

Researchers are not quite certain why this happens.  It might be that we all like to think well of ourselves, or might be that we only usually see our own behaviour and do not realise that other people are just as good!

Either way, it affects us.  Take, for example, the issue of climate change.  If we all think that our carbon footprint is lower than average, we might end up thinking that it is everyone else that has to change.

What thinks you?  Were you an unrealistic optimist yesterday?

On a completely different front, the new poster campaign for 59 Seconds kicked off in London yesterday.  Here is an example of the type of thing that is out there….

poster2

I have started a caption competition for the pic that is in the middle row, far right.  Winner gets a free copy of the book.  Feel free to enter!