Does being confident make you smarter at math?

If you take a look at the great athletes and great leaders out there today, like Sydney Crosby for example, (yes , I am Canadian and a crazy-ass-hockey-fan to boot) the one thing that you’ll notice is that a common thread exists amongst people of this ilk.


That common thread is this: they project an enormous level of confidence even in high-pressure situations?


(And by the way: You don’t have to watch the whole youtube video below to pick-up what I am droppin’ here)


The funny thing is, all greatness aside, Sydney’s highlight-of-the-night performances "may" also be attributed to a little thing called status enhancement theory .


Simply put, this theory is based on the fact that people within groups gain a leadership and status role over others, and as a result they gain influence, primarily because they take on a dominant role and are confident. Projecting confidence gives others the impression that you’re a competent person. Simply put then: confidence leads to competence.


Don’t get my wrong here. Not saying that “Sid The Kid” is or has ever faked it. But there is no doubt in my mind that in order to achieve this level of “greatness” you have to be an ultra- confident person.


Now with reference to the math thing above: The folks at Psychology Today documented an interesting study on a group of people working out word problems in math.


Anyway, this study assigned participants to groups with the intent to collaboratively work out an assigned problem.


Interestingly enough though, before the problem-solving session began, everybody was asked to rate their own perceived assertiveness.


The problem-solving session followed. Afterward, a group of observers watched a recording of the session and counted the number of dominant/confident behaviours each person displayed, such as being the first to propose an answer.


And when the problem-solving session was over, team members also judged each other’s mathematical abilities.


The crux of the findings from the experiment: confident members of the group were no more likely than others to give correct answers, however, their dominant personality and assertiveness gave the impression to everyone that they were better at math.


And as a result, they exerted more influence in-group discussions and other team members gave their answers more weight.


Be careful though. Don’t want you turning into a full-blown narcissist if you decide to jack your confidence level over the next little bit.


For tricks and tools to enhance your math solving skills feel free to check out our cool whitebook notebooks here.  


Go ahead and make a mistake; dare ya.