There are interesting psychological studies going on every day across the world. Doctors and scientist are constantly trying to figure out what makes us tick as human beings, and their finding are fascinating. I personally love psychology, because I see it not only as an insight into what is going on in my own head but a confirmation that I can’t be the only person that feels the way that I do.
Occasionally, I come across a real gem, though. Something that makes more sense to me than I could have ever imagined. The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of those things.
Rational Wiki describes the effect best: “The Dunning-Kruger effect, named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University, occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyse their performance, leading to a significant overestimate of themselves.” n other words, some people are too stupid to know that they are stupid. Also, it’s totally okay if 5-6 people that you know just popped into your head.
The study in 1999 was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler. Wheeler robbed not one, but TWO banks after covering his face with lemon juice. See, wheeler had heard that lemon juice can be used as an invisible ink, so in his mind: it would prevent him from being seen by surveillance cameras. In Dunning’s own words, “…incompetent people do not recognize—scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are.”
The real core of the effect as Dunning explains is the true inability for incompetent people to accurate assess their own ignorance. “An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge,” he says.
What is really funny to me is that we see effects of the dunning-Kruger effect every single day in our lives, especially in social media. Up until now, you just didn’t know that there was a name for the behaviors of the people around us who think that they know everything – when they actually know nothing.