Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 09:00

The cost of electing and employing overconfident people is one of several University of Queensland psychology studies to receive fresh Australian Research Council (ARC) funding.

Professor Bill von Hippel from the School of Psychology will lead a team testing the price of cockiness in political and commercial spheres.

“It can be costly for governments and businesses to put their trust in overconfident leaders and managers who are unprepared or ill-suited to their roles,” Professor von Hippel said.

“There are instances where overconfidence gives people a competitive advantage in the approvals process or leads to their skills being valued more highly than they should be.

“Our project model will allow us to predict who will display overconfidence, clarify why people are overconfident, and what benefits and costs accrue as a result.”

Collaborators on the study, which received $202,000 in ARC Discovery funding, are Professor Lionel Page, Professor Robert Trivers and Dr Changxia Ke.

Another ARC-backed psychology study will focus on better assisting the transition to retirement.

Project lead Professor Catherine Haslam said 30 per cent of people failed to adjust successfully.

“Previous work suggests the negative effects of significant life changes can be buffered by access to social groups,” Professor Haslam said.

“This possibility has not been examined in the context of retirement.”

“Collaborating with University of Kansas and Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, we will establish the importance of social group factors for Australian, English, American and Chinese retirees.”

Dr Tegan Cruwys, Professor Alex Haslam, Dr Niklas Steffens and Professor Nancy Pachana are the other UQ representatives on the $349,000-funded study.

Altogether, UQ received more than $30 million in ARC grants, placing it next to the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney as the most successful institutions in the latest funding round.

Several other School of Psychology projects received ARC funding. For a full list click here.

Media: Prof Bill von Hippel , +61 7 3365 6430; Robert Burgin, UQ Communications,, +61 7 3346 3035, +61 448 410 364.