Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

On the adaptive advantage of always being right (even when one is not)

Nathalia L. Gjersoea1 and Bruce M. Hooda1

a1 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TU, United Kingdom.


We propose another positive illusion – overconfidence in the generalisability of one's theory – that fits with McKay & Dennett's (M&D's) criteria for adaptive misbeliefs. This illusion is pervasive in adult reasoning but we focus on its prevalence in children's developing theories. It is a strongly held conviction arising from normal functioning of the doxastic system that confers adaptive advantage on the individual.