In the age of social media and 24-hour news channels, there is constant pressure to be in the know. As a result, it is increasingly rare to find people who assume they don’t know something.
Therefore, it seems that intellectual humility today is more important than ever. In fact, having the insight and honesty to say that one is ignorant or not an expert on a subject is ultimately a strength in this world where everyone calls themselves a specialist in less time than it takes.
Recently, psychologists have become more and more interested in intellectual humility, particularly by studying its consequences for learning and the ways of thinking that support it. In a new article in the Journal of Positive Psychology, a team led by Elizabeth Cromery-Mancuso shows that intellectual humility is associated with superior general knowledge.
A logical consequence because, as the researchers wrote, “Simply put, learning requires the humility to realize that you have something to learn.” Cromeri Mancuso and colleagues conducted five studies in total, trying to learn more about the links between intellectual humility and knowledge acquisition, between intellectual humility and meta-knowledge (knowledge of one’s own knowledge), and finally among intellectuals. Humility and other thought patterns.
One of the research’s strengths and weaknesses is the use of two different measures of intellectual humility. Some studies used a shorter questionnaire to assess one’s know-it-all (agree or disagree with statements such as “I know almost everything I should know”) and intellectual openness (in agreeing or disagreeing with phrases like ‘I can learn from others’).
Other studies have used a newer, more comprehensive, 22-item scale that includes questions about cognition, emotions, and behaviors that represent intellectual humility, such as accepting criticism of important beliefs, willingness to change your mind, and respect for the opinions of others. The use of different scales allows for a more complete and diverse assessment of intellectual modesty, but also prevents comparison between studies.
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The smarter we are, the more humble we are
In terms of insight, the results showed that people who scored high in intellectual humility were less likely to claim knowledge they did not possess. The researchers were able to test this point by evaluating participants’ willingness to claim familiarity with completely fictitious facts of which they may not have been aware, and they also tended to underestimate their performance on a cognitive ability test.
On the other hand, other thinking styles and concepts are associated with greater intellectual humility, including being more reflective, having a greater need for cognition (that is, pleasure in thinking and problem solving), increased curiosity and greater open-mindedness. According to scholars, more intellectual humility is often associated with less “social vigilance,” defined as seeing others’ beliefs as inferior.
What do you think?