When a group of people works to complete a task, a leader usually emerges. New research shows such leaders are not necessarily more intelligent than the other group members, but rather they simply speak up more often. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, gave groups of college students 45 minutes to lay the groundwork for a business and then asked the students to rate one another on intelligence, judgment and other traits. The students believed that the people who spoke more often were the smartest in each group—even when, during another group exercise involving math problems, they offered more incorrect answers than did others who were less talkative. Those who did not say much were judged as averagely intelligent and not so creative. A later look at the participants’ SAT scores revealed that, on average, the leaders had the same scores as the rest of the group. “The main reason dominant people took charge is they jumped in first and nobody questioned what they said,” says psychologist Cameron Anderson, who led the study. “Dominant people seem really good at things because they speak with so much confidence.”
This article was originally published with the title "Confidence Wins over Smarts"