It’s a nice thought, the idea that most of us underestimate how attractive, fit, honest, or kind we really are. But it’s probably not very accurate. A new survey from Gallup shows how skewed our perceptions of ourselves are, finding that just 36 percent of Americans believe they’re overweight. Compare that to U.S. Centers for Disease Control figures, which show that the actual number is 69 percent.
Psychological research over the years has uncovered the other ways we believe we’re above average, including one paper showing that we think we’re better-looking than we really are. And another recent study suggested that even prisoners convicted of robbery or violence perceive themselves to be kinder, more moral, and more honest than the average (non-prisoner) person. But I’m sure none of these findings apply to you, dear Science of Us reader, who is no doubt thinner, prettier, and kinder than the average American.