Overconfidence Advantages

Fortune favors the bold1 – and sometimes even the unreasonably overconfident, a new study says. Using a mathematical model of simulated competitors, researchers found that while overconfident strategies don’t always win, their wins tend to be bigger than those of more cautious opponents. The total rewards they reap often make up for their losses – and then some. The researchers think this may have to do with differing responses to novel situations, and the risks vs. payoffs they carry. In short, they suggest that when encountering a new and potentially dangerous scenario, the best strategy may be to simply march in with the assumption that you’re…

Generosity Psychology

New research explains why it makes evolutionary (and mathematical) sense for us to be kind to strangers. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that people are, on average, more generous to strangers than most mathematical models predict – and that there’s a logical reason for cooperation to evolve this way: it often doesn’t cost much to be generous, but a single act of stinginess could cost you a long-term friend. In other words, petty greed just isn’t worth the risk. This conclusion might seem face-slappingly obvious, but what’s intriguing here is the fact that it has a…