Numbers Don't Lie

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Lake Wobegon effect and obesity

Have you heard of "the Lake Wobegon effect" before? According to the wikipedia, the Lake Wobegon effect is the human tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegon from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to the show host Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average". One example: surveying drivers, Ole Svenson (1981) found that 80% of respondents rated themselves in the top 30% of all drivers.
Here is the latest one: a Pew Research Center study found that 90% American adults say most of their fellow Americans are overweight, but just 70% say this about "the people they know", and only just 39% say they themselves are overweight.



Blogger Sicilian said...

Hilarious. . . . hmmmm hate it when people think I'm fat. :)

9:51 PM

Blogger Tillerman said...

Fascinating. You have a great blog here. Keep it up.

2:53 PM

Blogger Sicilian said...

I think she should have done a study on the best use of because which comes out of every parents' mouth. . . ."BECAUSE I SAID SO"

12:55 AM

Blogger slskenyon said...

Well, I'll tell you, we Americans get a bad wrap, I think. I'm out in the UK and I look at LOTS of fat people. In fact, I think most of the female population over 30 is carrying at least an extra 20 lbs. on them.

And yet, I still can't find a date. I don't think I meet the "weight minimium" requirements for British men.

1:14 PM

Blogger Taylor said...

Very nice blog. The Lake Wobegon Effect is kind of like Basking in Reflected Glory (BIRG). Like when one claims the "team" lost the game today, but "we" will tommorow, like "we" did yesterday. On top of our issues of insecurity, there is at the core of our being the little kid that thinks fat jokes are hilarious. I'm linking to you. I enjoyed, very nice.

12:39 AM


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