The best way to win an argument? Shout louder than everyone else and people will simply assume you’re right (and that includes using the media to inculcate your lies…)
- Researchers analysed more than a billion tweets from pundits during American sporting events
- Found that being confident makes you more popular than being right
- The pundits and amateurs studied made a similar number of correct predictions, yet those who were ‘louder’ and more confident were seen to be more trustworthy and popular
By Victoria Woollaston
Being confident and loud is the best way to win an argument – even if you are wrong, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Washington State University drew this conclusion after studying the activity of Twitter users. The more opinionated they were, the more influential and trustworthy they were perceived to be.
They analysed more than a billion tweets posted during various American sporting events, including the 2013 Super Bowl, to the test whether being accurate or being confident made Twitter users more popular.
Despite professional pundits and amateur fans making a similar amount of correct and incorrect predictions, the tweeters who ‘yelled’ louder were seen as more trustworthy and had more followers.
To test the theory, two economic students from the university studied the language used by sports pundits who often ‘yell’ for attention.
Jadrien Wooten and Ben Smith compared the tweets of professional pundits – celebrities with verified Twitter accounts – with amateur tweeters that claimed to have some sports expertise in their bio.
The pair then developed a software program to sort through more than a billion tweets looking for predictions for major sporting events in the US, such as the 2013 Super Bowl in February.
The program pulled out tweets with team names, nicknames and expressions commonly associated with predictions, such as ‘beat’ and ‘win’.
Words like ‘vanquish,’ ‘destroy’ and ‘annihilate’ posted in Tweets were considered to be confident words.
The researchers used these confident words in place of being able to measure loudness online.