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Discussion #7 : Teens’ Overconfident? {Chapter 7- Personality Stability, Development, and Change} (Initial post due Thursday and Responses by Monday)

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Teens’ Overconfidence (Links to an external site.)

Watch the clip and answer the questions below, be sure to use content covered in the chapter.

Dr. Jean Twenge is a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and the author of Generation Me. In this video she discusses her research on generational changes in personality. Today’s teens are over confidant. Many will be disappointed as adults.

Thought Questions:

  1. Do you agree that today’s college students are more confident than in previous generations? Why or why not?
  1. Do you think it’s possible to be too confident? Can you think of any situations where extra confidence could be beneficial and others where it might be problematic?
  1. Do you agree with Dr. Twenge’s hypothesis about the sources of young adults’ overconfidence? Can you think of any other explanations for the differences that she found?

** Be sure to use topics/concepts covered in the chapter in your posts. Once you post your response (150-200 words). Respond to 2 classmates responses (75 words). Make sure your reply is constructive feedback, clear, and offer an explanation to your response.

reply 1 :

I do agree that today’s college students are more confident than in previous generations. I have experienced this as a college student in 2001 and in 2019. There was 18 years difference between my time in a classroom has passed and I observed the overconfidence in my fellow students.

Being too confident was observed as almost delusional statements like “I won’t have to pay taxes if I’m rich after school!”. After hearing this, I had had to laugh as a tax-paying adult. This display of confidence certainly could become problematic for that individual.

I agree with Dr. Twenge’s hypothesis about the sources of young adults’ overconfidence. Her example of the first episode is a perfect explanation. I only watched that episode to see the ego and confidence deflation when told they could not sing. Perhaps peer influence can aid in the overconfidence level of an individual. Attention seeking behaviors can be fueled by peers therefore can increase the level of confidence of an individual.

reply 2:

I feel as though this concern over the “everyone gets a trophy” phenomenon is blown out of proportion. I was raised playing sports and always received a participation trophy when my team did not win. I was well aware that the winning teams won bigger, better trophies that actually meant something significant. However, I was happy to simply be recognized for my effort. It did not cause me to grow up overconfident or thinking I was special.

I believe boosting our children’s confidence is more beneficial than detrimental. This issue is not black and white – we can teach them to be confident and also how to accept their shortcomings and failures. As described in the video, the younger generation has reported themselves to be more confident in their abilities than their counterparts in previous generations. This could be due to parents remembering what it was like to grow up with low levels of confidence, and wanting their children to experience a more positive sense of self.

The main issue I can see coming from overconfidence is that children might not know how to handle obstacles that appear when they thought they could conquer anything. The way we can avoid this is explained in chapter 7 of the text. We simply need to teach our children to not blame obstacles on external forces, but rather accept that they must make changes to their personality in order to overcome these obstacles. For example, the text provides an example of a student skipping class and earning poor grades. This student might be overconfident and assume she will earn high grades whether she attends class or not. Instead of being shocked at her poor grades and blame the professor, that student must learn that she needs to change the part of her personality that causes her to skip class. By making a change to her own behavior, she will see positive results, be more conscientious, and gain her confidence back.

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