Men are more likely than women to fake expertise they don't have – and rich men are the worst culprits when ites to speaking with authority on topics they have no idea about, according to a new study.
Researchers call this the art of 'BS.'
Experts at the University College of London partnered with the Australian Catholic University to measure how pervasive the BS trait is among different demographic groups, according to The Washington Post.
They asked study participants to give an assessment of how well they knew 16 different math topics on a scale of 1-5 – with answers ranging from, 'never heard of it' to 'know it well, understand the concept.'
The tricky thing is, three of those topics werepletely made up: 'proper numbers,' 'subjunctive scaling' and 'declarative fractions.'
Anyone who said they were familiar or well-versed in the faux specialties was labelled a 'BSer.'
A BSer is more likely to 'display overconfidence in their academic prowess and problem-solving skills,' the study said.
In other words: be wary of braggarts – they're least likely to live up to the reputation they've built for themselves.
braggart ['brgt; -ɑt]:n.吹嘘;好自夸者;大言者
Using data from nine predominately English-speaking countries, researchers found that North Americans were more likely to BS than people in other parts of the world – and Canadians are worse than Americans.
Byparison, in Europe the BS trait was much more specific to men and the rich.
The study used data from the Program for International Student Assessment, which is taken by tens of thousands of 15-year-olds around the globe. The dataset included students' demographic information and preferences for different subjects they were studying – including the fake math knowledge questions.
Boys were more likely than girls to pretend they knew what the fabricated math subjects are – a finding that was consistent across all nine countries.
For men, this 'could help them earn higher wages and explain some of the gender wage gap,' study co-author Nikki Shure told The Post. 'This has important implications for thinking about tasks in job interviews and how to evaluate performance.'
However, the gap between men and women was smallest in the United States, suggesting that gender equality is a little more balanced here when ites to BS.
Researchers also found a major difference between socioeconomic classes, with the people living in richest households more likely to overstate their expertise – and the poorest least likely to indulge in BS.
However, again, the gap was smallest in the US.
The study also suggests that BS could sometimes manifest as a useful life skill, for example during job interviews and college applications.