People who get angry easily tend to overestimate their intelligence

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Egbert Haynes
People who get angry easily tend to overestimate their intelligence

It is normal that we all get angry at times, but surely you have found that some people may have a greater tendency to anger and seem to be always more angry and irritated, arguing and arguing before others, showing a certain sense of superiority. Well, according to a study published in the scientific journal Intelligence, it seems that people with a more angry character tend to overestimate their intelligence.

The origin of the study

This study has been carried out by scientists from the University of Western Australia and the University of Warsaw and tried to find out whether people with a high level of anger show biases in the perception of their abilities. "Anger is more oriented towards generally optimistic biases," explained Marcin Zajenkowski, one of the study's authors..

Scientists state that, although the Anger and Neuroticism traits are related, some empirical research shows that each of these traits is influenced by very different processes: while neuroticism is associated with pessimism, a feeling of lack of control and low narcissism , the Anger trait is associated on the contrary a bias of optimism, greater sense of self-control and high narcissism.

This led the researchers to hypothesize that when a person exhibits one of these two traits, anger or neuroticism, they will tend to perceive their intelligence as higher or lower, respectively..

What did the results show?

Following this hypothesis, researchers Marcin Zajenkowski and Gilles E. Gigna conducted a study in which, through questions in a questionnaire, 528 participants were asked to evaluate how often they felt angry and irate. Subsequently, the participants were asked to rate whether they believed they had high or low intelligence through a 25-point scale. After that, real intelligence tests were carried out confirming the suspicion: the most irate people used to overestimate their level of intelligence, since, although their estimation of themselves was high, the real results were not as high as they expected.

This overestimation is related to the association that the Anger trait has with narcissistic illusions and the tendency to optimism, as we explained previously. Narcissistic illusions are those that make people believe that their abilities and reasoning are better than those of those around them, leading to this overestimation bias..

However, the association between anger and neuroticism is not so clear since, although these two traits are associated, it would be expected that neurotic people also present this overestimation of their intelligence, which is not the case.

In fact, neuroticism makes people think that they are less intelligent than they really are since those who scored high on this trait scored higher in intelligence than previously believed. "I noticed that anger differs significantly from other negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety or depression. Anger is more oriented to the optimistic bias perception approach," explains Marcin Zajenkowski.

It is important to note that, despite this connection found, the emotion of anger itself is not connected with the level of real intelligence, that is, it is not known if there is a cause and effect relationship between this emotion and the level of anger. intelligence, since for this, other facets related to anger must be investigated that should be done in subsequent investigations. This means that, although statistical data have significantly shown this overestimation that angry people show about themselves, anger itself has not been shown to be a factor that indicates a lower or higher level of intelligence.

In addition, it also remains to be studied if this overestimation only occurs with people who are frequently explosive in their anger, or it also occurs in moments of specific anger. According to Zajenkowski "future studies can explore if the temporary experience of anger also leads to a biased perception of their abilities".

Fortunately, there are scientifically proven ways to improve our self-control in situations that trigger our anger. Thanks to therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, we can train our behavior to focus on the present moment and not react impulsively to stressful events, reactions that, according to this study, seem to prevent us from perceiving reality objectively.

References

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289618300102


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