Chapter 5: Intuitions About Our Competence and Virtue

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself…”
~Ludwig Wittgenstein

At the center of our worlds, more pivotal for us than anything else, are we ourselves. Whatever we do, whatever we perceive, whatever we conceive, whomever we meet will be filtered through our self. When we think about something in relation to ourselves, we remember it better. If asked whether specific words, such as outgoing describe us, we later remember those words better than if asked whether they describe someone else. If asked to compare ourselves with a character in a short story, we remember the character better. Two days after a conversation with someone, we best recall what the person said about us. Ergo, memories form around our primary interest: ourselves.

From our self-focused perspective, we also overestimate our conspicuousness. We often see ourselves as responsible for events in which we have been a minor player. We also tend to see ourselves at center stage, intuitively overestimating the extent to which others’ attention is aimed at us….

Chapter Contents

Hindsight Bias (“I Knew It All Along”)
Self-Serving Bias
People accept more responsibility for good deeds than for bad, and for successes than for failures
Most people see themselves as better than average
False consensus and uniqueness
The Overconfidence Phenomenon