Think you have a better chance of surviving a zombie outbreak than most? You might want to think again.
According to several extensive studies done between 1976 and 2002, people have an uncontrollable tendency to believe they are superior to their peers in everything from disaster preparedness to popularity. In fact, this widespread defect in perception even has a name.
The Wobegon Effect is termed after a fictitious town created by radio personality Garrison Keillor, because in Lake Wobegon, “All the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” But research psychologist, Kim Orleans, warns that in reality at least half of all people are below average in any measurable category.
Unfortunately, that’s not how we see it, as Orleans explains:
“85% of high school students surveyed think they’re in the top 50% in ability to get along with others, and 25% of those say they’re in the top 1%. What that means is there are a lot of kids feeling a lot more confident about things than they should.”
And this phenomenon doesn’t change as we grow older.
A recent study of graduate students at Stanford’s Business School revealed that 87% think they’re in the top 50% of academic performance. 68% of professors at the University of Nebraska believe they are in the top 25% of teaching ability. 90% of drivers of all ages say they’re safer than average, and 75% of senior citizens think they look younger than their fellow seniors.
People across the board think they’re less likely than others to have heart disease, get fired, divorced, or be killed in a natural or man-made disaster. In short, we think we’re smarter, tougher and better prepared than our neighbors.
So what does the Wobegon Effect mean when applied to a global zombie outbreak? It means that a whole bunch of us are wrong about our chances of survival.