The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people think they are smarter and more capable than they actually are. In essence, people with low abilities do not have the skills needed to recognize their incompetence. The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive abilities caused them to overestimate their abilities.
This term provides a scientific name and explanation for a problem that many people immediately recognize—a fool who ignores his stupidity.As Charles Darwin wrote in his book Human decline, “Ignorance generates confidence more easily than knowledge.”
Overview of the Dunning-Kruger effect
You may have experienced this phenomenon in real life, perhaps at the dinner table of a holiday family gathering. Throughout the meal, a member of your extended family began to discuss a topic in detail, boldly claiming that he was right, while the opinions of others were stupid, unknowing, and completely wrong. Everyone in the room may clearly know that this person does not know what they are talking about, but they chatter and happily forget their ignorance.
This effect is named after researchers David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the two social psychologists first described it. In their initial study of this psychological phenomenon, they conducted a series of four investigations.
People with the lowest scores on grammar, humor, and logic tests also tend to greatly overestimate their performance (their actual test scores rank them in the 12th percentile, but they estimate that their performance ranks them in the 62nd percentile. Percentile)).
For example, in an experiment, Dunning and Kruger asked their 65 participants to rate the funnyness of different jokes. Some participants were terrible at determining what others would find interesting—but these same subjects described themselves as good judges of humor.
Researchers have found that incompetent people not only perform poorly, but also fail to accurately assess and identify the quality of their work. This is why students who fail an exam sometimes feel that they deserve a higher score. They overestimate their knowledge and abilities and cannot see how badly they perform.
Low performers are unable to identify the skills and abilities of others, which is part of the reason why they always believe that they are better, more capable, and more knowledgeable than others.
“In many cases, incompetence does not make people disoriented, confused or cautious,” David Dunning wrote in an article. Pacific Standard“On the contrary, incompetent people are often given inappropriate confidence and something This is like knowledge to them. ”
This influence can have a profound effect on people’s beliefs, the decisions they make, and the actions they take. In a study, Dunning and Ehrlinger found that women performed the same in scientific tests as men, but women underestimated their performance because they believed that their scientific reasoning ability was not as good as that of men. The researchers also found that because of this belief, these women are more likely to refuse to participate in science competitions.
Dunning and his colleagues also conducted some experiments. They asked the interviewees whether they were familiar with various terms related to politics, biology, physics, and geography. In addition to the real subject-related concepts, they also inserted completely fictitious terms.
In one such study, approximately 90% of respondents claimed that they have at least some understanding of fictitious terminology. Consistent with other findings related to the Dunning-Kruger effect, participants claimed that the more familiar they were with a topic, the more likely they were to claim that they were familiar with meaningless terms. As Dunning suggested, the biggest problem with ignorance is that it feels like professional knowledge.
The cause of the Dunning-Kruger effect
So how to explain this psychological effect? Are some people too stupid to speak straight, wondering how stupid they are? Dunning and Kruger believe that this phenomenon stems from what they call a “double burden.” People are not only incompetent; their incompetence deprives them of the mental ability to realize how incompetent they are.
Incompetent people tend to:
- Overestimate your skill level
- Unable to identify the true skills and expertise of other people
- Fail to recognize one’s own mistakes and lack of skills
Dunning pointed out that the knowledge and skills necessary to be good at a task are exactly the same as the qualities a person needs to realize that he is not good at that task. Therefore, if a person lacks these abilities, not only will they not be able to complete the task, but they will also be ignorant of their incompetence.
Inability to recognize lack of skills and mistakes
Dunning believes that the lack of skills and professional knowledge has caused two problems. First, these shortcomings cause people to perform poorly in areas where they are incompetent. Second, their mistakes and lack of knowledge prevent them from recognizing their mistakes.
Lack of metacognition
The Dunning-Kruger effect is also related to metacognitive difficulties, or the ability to take a step back and examine one’s own behavior and abilities from the outside. People often can only judge themselves from their own limited and highly subjective perspective. From this limited perspective, they seem to be highly skilled, knowledgeable, and superior to others. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult for people to have a more realistic view of their abilities.
A little knowledge can lead to overconfidence
Another contributing factor is that sometimes a little knowledge of a topic can lead people to mistakenly believe that they know all about the topic. As the saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A person may have the weakest awareness of a certain subject, but because of the Dunning-Kruger effect, he or she believes that he or she is an expert.
Other factors that may cause this effect include our use of heuristics, or psychological shortcuts that allow us to make quick decisions, and our tendency to look for patterns that don’t exist. Our minds are ready to try to understand the different kinds of information we deal with every day. When we try to eliminate confusion and explain our own abilities and performance in the personal world, sometimes we are completely unable to accurately judge how well we are doing, which may not be surprising.
Who will be affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect?
So who will be affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect? Unfortunately, we are all. This is because no matter how knowledgeable or experienced we are, everyone has their own areas of ignorance and incompetence. You may be smart and skilled in many fields, but no one is an expert in all fields.
the fact is everyone Easily affected by this phenomenon, in fact, most of us may experience it with surprising regularity. People who truly become experts in a certain field may mistakenly believe that their wisdom and knowledge can be carried over to other fields they are not familiar with. For example, an outstanding scientist may be a very bad writer. In order for scientists to realize their lack of skills, they need to have good working knowledge of grammar and composition. Because of the lack of these, the scientist in this example also lacks the ability to recognize his poor performance.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is not synonymous with low IQ. As people’s awareness of this word increases, it has been misused as a synonym for “stupid” more and more. After all, it’s easy to judge others and believe that these things don’t apply to you at all.
So, if the incompetent tends to think of themselves as experts, how do real experts view their own abilities? Dunning and Kruger found that people at the high end of their abilities do have a more realistic view of their knowledge and abilities. However, compared with others, these experts actually tend to underestimate their abilities.
Essentially, these highest-scoring people know that they are better than average, but they don’t believe how superior their performance is compared to others. In this case, the problem is not that experts don’t know how well they are informed; it’s that they tend to believe that other people are also knowledgeable.
Is there a way to overcome the Dunning-Kruger effect?
So is there any way to minimize this phenomenon? Does the incompetent really realize their incompetence? “We are all superstitious engines,” Dunning suggested. Although we are all prone to experience the Dunning-Kruger effect, learning more about how the brain works and the mistakes we all make can be a step to correct this pattern.
Dunning and Kruger believe that as subject experience increases, confidence usually drops to a more realistic level. As people learn more about topics of interest, they begin to realize their lack of knowledge and ability. Then, as people gain more information and truly become experts on a subject, their level of confidence begins to increase again.
So, if you are not sure whether you can trust your own self-assessment, what can you do to make a more realistic assessment of your ability in a particular field?
- Keep learning and practicing. Don’t assume that you know all the knowledge about a topic, but keep digging deeper. Once you have a better understanding of a topic, the more likely you are to realize how much still needs to be learned. This can eliminate the tendency to assume that you are an expert, even if you are not.
- Ask other people how you are. Another effective strategy is to ask others to provide constructive criticism. Although it can be difficult to hear at times, this type of feedback can provide valuable insights into how others perceive your abilities.
- Question what you know. Even if you learn more and get feedback, it’s easy to just focus on the things that confirm that you think you already know. This is another example of psychological bias, called confirmation bias. In order to minimize this trend, please continue to challenge your beliefs and expectations. Look for information that challenges your ideas.
Very good sentence
The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of many cognitive biases. It affects your behavior and decisions, from ordinary to life-changing. Although it may be easier to recognize this phenomenon in other people, it is important to remember that it affects everyone. By understanding the root causes of this psychological prejudice, you may be able to better discover these tendencies in yourself and find ways to overcome them.