A question and answer that was in the Seattle PI not long ago

Question: “I work at a community college where two instructors teach the same science course. One explains concepts clearly, and his students do well on standardized tests. The other is scattered and confusing, and his students perform poorly. But the students believe the latter instructor is brilliant: They think that his explanations are simply over their heads! Why does this perception occur?”

Answer: “The kids don’t yet have enough confidence in themselves. This is one reason young people are more susceptible to charismatic leaders and charlatans. Adults, especially those who lack a good education, sometimes make the same mistake. (I would add emotional wounding) Both groups are more easily misled into believing that mysterious people are highly intelligent: When listeners hear material they don’t grasp, they assume the fault is with them, not the speaker. So, if the listeners consider themselves fairly intelligent, why, the speaker must be brilliant!”