The psychological roots of brother-in-law: people who think about everything without having a clue

The psychological roots of brother-in-law: people who think about everything without having a clue

The term "brother-in-law" is one of the fashionable words, although it is only a synonym of the word know-it-all , that is, someone who thinks about everything believing they know more than others, when in reality they know much less than others.

He is someone who usually gives lessons when he thinks. It is not limited to suggesting, but to impose, to speak with that kind of flair that is in style at the bar of a bar. They speak to the others as if no one had a clue of anything and they were the only ones insightful enough to discover the truths of the ferryman. And it has very deep psychological roots.

Dunning Kruger effect

Brother-in-law is an endemic evil, and in addition we can all be victims of it, because it lies in a secondary effect of the functioning of our brain . And it doesn’t necessarily affect ignorant people.

In fact, the effect can be much more powerful in educated and cultured people, because they have better arguments to defend their positions. Furthermore, it so happens that if someone is very competent in one field of knowledge, they tend to think that they are also relatively competent in others .

This is what is called ultracrepidarianism : the habit of giving opinions or advice on matters beyond one’s knowledge or competence.

Saying "I don’t know" seems like a trivial topic, but pretending to know something that you don’t really know carries enormous social costs. Especially if you have a position of social relevance. As Dean Burnett writes in his book The Idiot Brain :

Modern public debate is disastrously skewed because of it. There are important subject areas, such as vaccination or climate change, that are captured by the passionate tirades of individuals with unfounded personal opinions, rather than the calmer explanations of well-informed experts, all because of a few. oddities of brain function.

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But ignorant people are not safe from believing they are know-it-all even if they don’t have the intellectual tools to argue correctly (which doesn’t matter much, because discussing a glossed-over topic with someone who doesn’t know it but thinks they are not ignorant of it often undermines the arguments of the one who knows).

This is what is called the Dunning-Kruger effect or syndrome , a cognitive bias that is defined as the fact that individuals with little skill or knowledge suffer from an illusory feeling of superiority, considering themselves more intelligent than other more prepared people, incorrectly measuring their ability above the real thing.

We are all victims, to a greater or lesser extent, of these biases. Absolutely all. Being aware of this may help us not to screw up so much believing that we have been selected with a divine finger.