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Credibility and Confidence

August 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Personal, Psychology, Thoughts

When I was a student at Harding University I took a class in social psychology. Myself, Sherri Scharff, and Rachel Crum did a research project on the effects of confidence on how credible a speaker was perceived to be by an audience. We wrote two speeches about the history of psychology. One speech had 100% accurate facts. The other speech was full of errors (wrong names, wrong dates, mixed up theories, etc). I presented these two speeches to two different college speech classes. The speech with 100% accurate facts was presented with lots of vocalized pauses, zero eye contact, monotone, and just all together very poorly presented…but correct! The speech with the errors was presented as flawlessly and confidently as I knew how…yet it was totally incorrect!

Guess which speech was thought to be more credible and even more factual? The speech that was 100% incorrect. Amazing. When ran statistics on it and found highly significant results that favored the confidently presented speech as being perceived as more factual than the bumbled up speech. Do you find that surprising?

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