You Know Too Much

You Know Too Much

My family love Pictionary.

My dad draws exceptionally well, and my mum can guess exactly what he's drawing.

But the minute you switch the teams around and they aren't partnered, all hell breaks loose. My dad can't draw for someone else's brain, and my mum can't guess other people's drawings.

Think about the last time you played Pictionary, or even charades. You know in your head what you're trying to describe. It's so blindingly obvious, anyone should be able to get it.

But that's because you know the answer. To the other people in the room, you may as well be speaking another language.

You're suffering from the curse of knowledge.

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias. It means that we can't put ourselves in the position of not knowing what we already know.

A study done at Stanford university popularised the curse of knowledge.

Imagine I tell you the name of a song, and ask you to tap it out on a table using your fingers. I then told your friend to sit in the same room, and guess the song you tapped out.

As you're tapping away, you can hear the song playing in your head, as clear as if it were coming out of speakers. You tap, tap, tap, amazed at how well you've copied the rhythm.

The person opposite you stares at you blankly. It may as well be morse code.

The study showed that the "tappers" thought they accurately portrayed the song once in every 2 times.

The listeners correctly guessed the song once every forty times.

The next time you're explaining something, go back to basics. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. How much knowledge of the subject do they have, compared to you.

The likelihood is, you're at level 50, and they're at level 5.

Take a step back, and put yourself in their shoes.