Teenagers who are overconfident about their reading abilities may actually have worse reading skills than those who are less sure of themselves. Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York and the University of Alberta studied 160,000 children in 34 countries. They found that overconfident children were more likely to be below-average readers while underconfident ones were more likely to be above-average. This finding held true in all 34 countries and was particularly marked in more individualistic cultures such as the U.S. and Switzerland. The study found that the underconfident students were better able to accurately assess and evaluate their own reading levels; those who can accurately gauge their strengths and weaknesses are usually in a better position to identify realistic goals and to achieve them. In practice this might mean that an overconfident child choses a more difficult book and then abandons it while an underconfident one choses an easier one, finishes it and then moves on to the more difficult book later.
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