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Styles of expertise

Tyler Cowen offers some "sentences to ponder"::

Experts are more persuasive when they seem tentative about their conclusions, a study soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests. But the opposite is true of novices, who grow more persuasive with increasing certainty. In one experiment, college students were randomly assigned one of four variations of a restaurant review, praising a local Italian spot. In some versions, the reviewer was described as a famous food critic; in others, he was a technology worker at a local college with a penchant for fast food. Each of the critics expressed positive certainty about the restaurant's virtues in one variation, and tentative praise in another. Asked to evaluate the restaurant, the students who read the expert's review liked it much better when he seemed tentative; the opposite was true of the novice.

Full story here. "I'm not sure you should ponder these sentences," says Cowen. "Maybe you should, maybe you shouldn't." I disagree with him. You should definitely ponder these sentences.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 23, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
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Next: Why hasn't Olympia Snowe pulled the trigger?


I am currently trying to discern whether omitting the link from the "Full story here" sentence is actually an intentional, self-referential attempt to make yourself seem more like a novice/amateur in order to strengthen the impact of the punch line.

Wheels within wheels...

Posted by: Mike_Russo | October 23, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Those students have a lot to learn...

Posted by: paul314 | October 26, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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