The Knowledgeability Effect | Lillian Nwagbara

He walked into her room wearing a forlorn expression on his face then he plopped down on the chair facing her and began a series of sighs. By the tenth sigh, she dropped her phone on her bed and stared at him.

“What is it?” she asked with a huff. She’d seen the scene play out repeatedly over the years to know exactly when her baby brother wanted something.

“There’s this girl in my school. She’s so much smarter than I am. She won me in the last debate and everyone was saying she’s so smart and it made me feel so dumb and I know I’m not dumb but she’s so smart and I can’t argue with that and―”

“Hey… breathe,” she interrupted with a warm smile. She watched as his chest heaved in slow successions and when she saw his shoulders relax a bit she continued, “Do you honestly believe that people are smarter than others or it’s just the way it seems?”

“Huh?” his eyes widened in confusion and she laughed at his reaction. Surely, he hadn’t seen that one coming. His brows furrowed, a sign that he was being contemplative. She watched him closely and couldn’t help but be amused by his seemingly deep concentration. Funny how the yes or no questions could be the toughest ones to answer.

“I don’t really know but I feel some people are really smart. Those ones that already know the answer to something before you ask and they seem to know just the right thing to say at every point. I feel those ones are smarter than other people. What are you getting at?” He frowned then simultaneously crossed his arms on his chest and pursed his lips. She took in his composure and sighed. Defiance. She sat up on her bed and leaned forward towards him.

“I have a theory for why you feel the way you feel about this girl in your school. Wanna hear?” She paused and he nodded slowly. Her brother was a lot of things but conservative probably topped the list. He lived a life of principles and adopting new ones would be like drilling holes into a ceramic pot after it has been fired. Getting rid of those holes would mean destroying then molding the pot afresh, So the pot gets fired like that and the holes remain. With that in mind, she couldn’t blame him for being cautious about accepting her explanation. At least he’s following, she thought and chuckled. She ran her fingers through her hair and exhaled deeply.

“We say people are smarter than we are when they’ve said or done something incredible, something that makes us speechless, something that we probably wouldn’t have thought of, do you agree?” He nodded again, this time his eyes were fixed intently on hers. “Now you felt this girl was way smarter than you are because you experienced what I like to call ‘The Knowledgeability Effect’.” His mouth formed an ‘O’ and she chuckled before she continued. “Now, The Knowledgeability Effect is not to be confused with the ‘Knowledge Effect’, calm down. While Knowledge Effect― in Psychology― has to do with an assumed belief that one’s knowledge is shared by others, The Knowledgeability Effect in my dictionary is somewhat… different. ” She paused at that point when she saw the puzzled look on his face. How the hell was she supposed to pull that off now that he was paying attention?

“It has to do with an assumed level of power that one attains for being in possession of certain information. Now you felt that there was a probability that this girl could be smarter than you are because she knew something that you didn’t but you didn’t conclude on that yet because anybody can know anything and no one can know everything. However, your convictions must have grown weaker with each encounter. She must have projected ideologies that seemed sophisticated and were backed up with points she could prove logically, plus she may have added facts to her argument. Do you see where I’m going with this?” Her head was almost touching his face at this point so she straightened. He shook his head nervously and she laughed.

“Do you know that a piece of Malus domestica is sold for about thrice the price of items in its category and this is probably because it is globally acclaimed to possess indispensable health benefits?” His eyes widened in bewilderment and he shook his head vigorously while mouthing a ‘wow’. She burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter that made him scrunch his face.

“Why are you laughing at me na? Is it my fault that I don’t know eh?” his tone carried a mix of mild annoyance and nervousness in it. She shook her head vigorously and tried to contain the laughter before she spoke again.

“I just told you that apples are more expensive than other fruits and it’s probably because, An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and you were mind blown.” This time the laughter erupted from both parties while he kept doing the ambulance thing― repeatedly saying ‘wow’.

“So, all I should have done with her was add a little sophistication plus facts plus logic? Damn sis! You’re really smart.” He stood with an excitement that would put a dog at meal-time to shame. He turned and made for the door.

“Or maybe, I just successfully convinced you that everything I have just told you isn’t nonsense.”

“Wait what?” He paused and turned to her with a look that could win first place if there was a competition with the theme, ‘Who looks more confused?’.

“Abeg pass me my cheeseballs, ” she said between chuckles.

Lillian Nwagbara studied Microbiology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She writes poetry, fiction and essays. She doubles as a blogger and social commentator. She loves nature and the exploration of uncharted waters, meeting new people and a good laugh. When she is not writing, she is a strategic sales rep in Abuja; a member of the Rotary Foundation international.

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New Horizon Creatives is a caprecon international foundation advocacy and literacy program geared towards solving societal issues through art.

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