Confidence is a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a latin word fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having a self-confidence is having trust in one's self. Arrogance or hubris in this comparison is having unmerited confidence – believing something or someone is capable or correct when they are not. Overconfidence or presumptuousness is excessive belief in someone (or something) succeeding, without any regard for failure. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.
Taken to an extreme, over-confidence can cause problems as evidenced by the famous author Matthew Syed and mentioned here in this reference in regard to sport. Motivation theories have suggested that successful performance hinges on both skill and will. Yet, even a motivated and skilled individual can fail to perform if he or she does not have a personal certainty belief that s/he can handle what it takes or what needs to be done.
Lack of self-confidence
Low confidence makes it less likely that a person will initiate action and more likely that a person will disengage because they doubt they can handle what needs to be done. Even with skill and motivation, without confidence, goals are not likely to be met. In certain fields of medical practice patients experience lack of self-confidence during the recovery period. This is commonly referred to as DSF or "defectum sui fiducia" from the Latin etymology of lack of self-confidence. For example, this can be the case after stroke whereby the patient refrains from using the weaker lower limb due to fear of it not being strong to hold their weight whilst standing or walking.
It is suggested that the confidence bias can be explained by a noisy conversion of objective evidence (observation) into subjective estimates (judgment), whereas noise is defined as the mixing of memories during the storing (observing/learning) and retrieval process (remembering/judgment). The information-theoretic logic behind this explanation is very similar to the mechanism that can also lead to the conservatism bias, and holds that we mix true and false evidence during storage and retrieval of evidence to and from our memories. The confidence bias results because as judges we "look inside our own memory" (evaluate our confidence) and find evidence that is more extreme than when we retrieve evidence for our judgements (which are conservative due to mixing of extreme values during retrieval). This explanation is very simple and straightforward, but nevertheless sufficient mechanism to generate both, overconfidence (in situations where judges are very sure) and underconfidence (in cases when judges openly state to lack the required knowledge).
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- Syed, Matthew (16 December 2015). "Mourinho damned by his god complex". The Times. London. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Porter, L. W., & Lawler, E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homework, IL: Dorsey.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Martin Hilbert (2012) "Toward a synthesis of cognitive biases: How noisy information processing can bias human decision making". Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 211–237; free access to the study here: martinhilbert.net/HilbertPsychBull.pdf