Expand your context

Wogebon

“Often, we form our impressions not globally, by placing ourselves in the broadest possible context, but locally, by comparing ourselves to people who are ‘in our same boat.’” Stouffer

Lake Wobegon is a fictional town in Minnesota, said to have been the boyhood home of Garrison Keillor, who reports the News from Lake Wobegon on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

The series introduced what has been called “the Lake Wobegon effect” which Wikipedia defines as, “A real and pervasive human tendency to overestimate one’s capabilities and achievements relative to others.” It is named after the fictional town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

For instance, the residents of the town are convinced that the valedictorian of their high school must be the smartest student in the nation. But when the student goes to the state university, it becomes obvious that there are many “smartest students in the nation,” and in fact, the Lake Wobegon student is quite average.  Continue reading “Expand your context”