Have you ever bought a new electronic device, or tried a new activity, and then dropped it because you were sure you couldn’t possibly master it? Well, don’t give up so quickly.
Researchers performed six experiments that involved subjects trying out new tasks—including drawing an image from looking at its reflection in a mirror, and learning to type on a new kind of keyboard. The participants were asked how long it would take them to learn the task. They tended to be overconfident and thought they’d do better on the first try than they actually did.
Then, after trying, they were asked how quickly they’d become good at it. But this time they were pessimistic and thought it’d take them longer to learn than it actually did. The study is in the Journal of Consumer Research. [Darron Billeter, Ajay Kalra, and George Loewenstein, http://bit.ly/dB3BJ1]
The findings are relevant because many new consumer goods are quickly tossed aside. It could be because people initially think that their fancy new mp3 player will be easy– then after they try, they’re sure they’ll never be able to master it. So you will be able to ski—or use that iPad—later than you expected, but sooner than you think.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]