“EVER wondered why the pundits who failed to predict the current economic crisis are still being paid for their opinions?” asks the latest magazine of the American Psychological Society. Hell, I know I have. Often. Well, the psychologists have an answer, that Humans prefer cockiness to expertise:
It's a consequence of the way human psychology works in a free market, according to a study of how people's self-confidence affects the way others respond to their advice.
Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shows that we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we are willing to forgive a poor track record. Moore argues that in competitive situations, this can drive those offering advice to increasingly exaggerate how sure they are. And it spells bad news for scientists who try to be honest about gaps in their knowledge.
Which is also, no doubt, why the likes of Al Gore gets more air time than the likes of Richard Lindzen.