The Curse of Knowledge

by Justinas Aleksiejus

The "Curse of Knowledge" crops up daily, a term coined by economists Colin Camerer, George Loewenstein, and Martin Weber in their 1989 paper.

It's essentially about forgetting what it's like to not know something that's second nature to you. Take acronyms or time expressions as prime examples. Say "half 4," and you're met with a tangle of interpretations: 3:30 as Germans know it, 4:30 in the UK, or even 2, if you take it literally.

This confusion is more than a minor irritation—it's a reminder of how knowledge, or the lack thereof, can stir up negative emotions. And the irony is, once we learn, we often overlook that others haven't.

Why is this important? Because we want to make sure we stay engaged with our listeners, especially if your job is converting something complex to something simple.

So keep it simple.

And say half past four.


Justinas Aleksiejus