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The Dunning Kruger Effect.

The Dunning Kruger Effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. It refers to the seemingly pervasive tendency of poor performers to overestimate their abilities relative to other people–and, to a lesser extent, for high performers to underestimate their abilities. According to the researchers for whom it is named, psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the effect is explained by the fact that the metacognitive ability to recognize deficiencies in one’s own knowledge or competence requires that one possess at least a minimum level of the same kind of knowledge or competence, which those who exhibit the effect have not attained. Because they are unaware of their deficiencies, such people generally assume that they are not deficient, in keeping with the tendency of most people to “choose what they think is the most reasonable and optimal option.” Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence. The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability leads them to overestimate their own capabilities. The term lends a scientific name and explanation to a problem that many people immediately recognize—that fools are blind to their own foolishness. As Charles Darwin wrote in his book The Descent of Man, "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."

Why People Fall For The Dunning Kruger Effect:

 Dunning and Kruger suggest that this phenomenon stems from what they refer to as a "dual burden." People are not only incompetent; their incompetence robs them of the mental ability to realize just how inept they are.

Incompetent people tend to:

- Overestimate their own skill levels

- Fail to recognize the genuine skill and expertise of other people

- Fail to recognize their own mistakes and lack of skill.

If you’ve ever dealt with someone whose performance stinks, and they’re not only clueless that their performance stinks but they’re confident that their performance is good, you likely saw the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action. Dunning and Kruger emphasized that the effect they had identified does not imply that people always overestimate their own knowledge or competence. Whether they do so depends in part on the domain in which they evaluate themselves. Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Dunning has pointed out that the very knowledge and skills necessary to be good at a task are the exact same qualities that a person needs to recognize that they are not good at that task. So if a person lacks those abilities, they remain not only bad at that task but ignorant to their own inability.

- An Inability to Recognize Lack of Skill and Mistakes: Deficits in skill and expertise create a two-pronged problem. First, these deficits cause people to perform poorly in the domain in which they are incompetent. Secondly, their erroneous and deficient knowledge makes them unable to recognize their mistakes.

- A Lack of Metacognition: The Dunning-Kruger effect is also related to difficulties with metacognition, or the ability to step back and look at one's own behavior and abilities from outside of oneself. People are often only able to evaluate themselves from their own limited and highly subjective point of view. From this limited perspective, they seem highly skilled, knowledgeable, and superior to others. Because of this, people sometimes struggle to have a more realistic view of their own abilities.

related to difficulties with metacognition, or the ability to step back and look at one's own behavior and abilities from outside of oneself. People are often only able to evaluate themselves from their own limited and highly subjective point of view. From this limited perspective, they seem highly skilled, knowledgeable, and superior to others. Because of this, people sometimes struggle to have a more realistic view of their own abilities.

- A Little Knowledge Can Lead to Overconfidence: Another contributing factor is that sometimes a tiny bit of knowledge on a subject can lead people to mistakenly believe that they know all there is to know about it. As the old saying goes, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A person might have the slimmest bit of awareness about a subject, yet thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect, believe that he or she is an expert.

Other factors that can contribute to the effect include our use of heuristics, or mental shortcuts that allow us to make decisions quickly, and our tendency to seek out patterns even where none exist. Our minds are primed to try to make sense of the disparate array of information we deal with on a daily basis. As we try to cut through the confusion and interpret our own abilities and performance within our individual worlds, it is perhaps not surprising that we sometimes fail so completely to accurately judge how well we do.

Content created and supplied by: Temiace (via Opera News )

Charles Darwin David Dunning Dunning-Kruger Justin Kruger The Descent of Man

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