Understanding and managing the Self-Wise during a healthcare crisis.

Understanding and managing the Self-Wise during a healthcare crisis.

Publication date: Oct 01, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an interesting yet worrisome phenomenon to the fore. A segment of the population, which we call the Self-Wise, seems to exhibit an inflated sense of self-expertise relative to domain experts, which – combined with a lack of trust in the latter – leads them to ignore or reject expert advice. We argue and demonstrate that this phenomenon is distinct from other “illusory superiority” phenomena, most notably Dunning-Kruger and Lake Wobegon. Three studies with US participants provide compelling evidence for the existence of the Self-Wise phenomenon. In the context of COVID-19, its behavioral consequences are non-compliance with expert-based COVID-19 guidelines and measures (e. g., wearing a mask and getting vaccinated). The studies also provide insight into additional characteristics of the Self-Wise, which can be used for identification and targeting purposes. We tested the effectiveness of two tailored interventions that aimed at reducing this segment’s “illusory superiority” and (re-)establishing their trust in medical experts. The interventions proved effective in terms of reducing the “illusory superiority” of the Self-Wise, and generally enhanced the participants’ intention to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. However, to substantially change the non-conforming COVID-19 behavior of the Self-Wise likely requires stronger and sustained mitigation strategies or interventions.

Concepts Keywords
Covid (Self-)Expertise
Healthcare Compliance
Kruger Illusory superiority
Lake Public health
Worrisome Trust


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO population
disease VO LACK
disease VO vaccinated
disease VO effectiveness
disease VO effective
disease MESH Long Covid

Original Article

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)