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What Are You, Crazy Or Something?

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | Add A CommentBy admin | October 29, 2009

Maybe. But if you’re smart enough to figure it out, you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome and never take credit for it. Just be glad you’re not descended from the Jumping Frenchmen of Maine, or that you don’t have Exploding Head Syndrome.


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If you occasionally find yourself feeling a little crazy and stressed out, maybe it’s time to put things into perspective a bit. When confronted with a bunch of difficult decisions, you may sometimes feel like your head is going to explode. Well, just be thankful at those times that you don’t actually have Exploding Head Syndrome; I’m sure it doesn’t make matters easier. For the record, if you do think you have things figured out, you probably don’t. It’s more likely you’re suffering from the Dunning Kruger Effect, which makes unskilled people feel an illusory superiority, rating their own abilities higher than they should, while the more highly skilled underrate their abilities. Which is similar to the Downing Effect, wherein people with a lower than average IQ tend to overestimate their intelligence, while people with above average intelligence underestimate their intelligence. Thus the variations of the adage “if you think you know everything, you probably don’t“. To add to your skewed perception, the fact that you’re now aware of these effects may put you in the group that suffers from the “Birder-Grace Effect”. This group consists of those relative few who have heard about the Downing Effect. Their perceptions of their own and others’ IQs are skewed because of their knowledge of the effect. These subtler levels of inaccurate self-assesment are pervasive. You may for instance be a bright, motivated person who is unable to internalize their accomplishments. If so, you may suffer from Impostor Syndrome. Which should not be confused with the Capgras Delusion, which is the delusional belief that someone close to you has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. Which is only slightly less creepy than the Fregoli Delusion, which causes you to believe that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance. Frankly, writing about all this second-guessing as if I know what I’m talking about makes me wonder if maybe I’m some kind of crank; and perhaps the most embarrassing kind, the Internet Crank. At least, given my anglo-teutonic roots, I can rest assured that I’m not descended from the Jumping Frenchmen of Maine.