dunning-kruger effect

In psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is the phenomena in which people who have higher cognitive skills rate themselves lower than they are, while people who do not have refined cognitive skills see themselves as geniuses and vastly overestimate their capabilities.

Basically, dumber people think they are smarter and more capable than they really are, while people with higher intelligence and capability have the internal illusion that they aren’t as smart and capable as they actually are.

Since people don’t often have the ability to step outside themselves and evaluate, they tend to internally judge themselves as less than or greater than others.

Kruger and Dunning cited the case of bank robber McArthur Wheeler, who had poor logical reasoning skills and delusions of grandeur. He painted his face with lemon juice before robbing the bank. His reasoning was that invisible ink was made from lemon juice, so by covering his skin with this cloak of invisibility, the back cameras wouldn’t be able to photograph him. He was wrong, of course.

Dunning wrote that people who incorrectly gauge their competence of a given task often because they are ignorant of what would be considered good or bad. For example, if someone considers the first painting they ever painted to be a colossal masterpiece, they would feel that they are a natural and have skills far above the average person. In reality, if they continued painting for years and practicing this craft, then looked back at the first painting, it would be obvious that they overestimated this skill in the beginning.

The Dunning-Kruger effect asserts that an incompetent person is unable to recognize their incompetency. Perhaps ego renders them unable to recognize their own deficit of knowledge and skill.

Testing revealed that competent people tend to consider themselves average, although they may be well above average, while incompetent people rated themselves far above average.

So… do you still think you’re so smart?