College students are more confident about their intellectual and social skills than in the past, according to a UCLA survey of first-year students. They’re overconfident, San Diego State Psychology Professor Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me, tells AP.
A larger percentage of incoming college freshmen rated themselves as “above average’’ in several categories compared with college freshmen surveyed in the 1960s, observes Twenge’s study, which is published in Self and Identity, a British journal.
When it came to social self-confidence, about half of freshmen questioned in 2009 said they were above average, compared with fewer than a third in 1966. Meanwhile, 60 percent in 2009 rated their intellectual self-confidence as above average, compared with 39 percent in 1966, the first year the survey was given.
In the study, the authors also assert that intellectual confidence may have been bolstered by grade inflation, noting that in 1966, only 19 percent of college students who were surveyed earned an A or A-minus average in high school, compared with 48 percent in 2009.
“So students might be more likely to think they’re superior because they have been given better grades,’’ Twenge says.
Others see little change in young people over the years or argue that increased confidence can be a positive.