Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Science

We Are All Confident Idiots 306

An anonymous reader writes: If you've ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, you'll be familiar with David Dunning, professor of psychology at Cornell. He's written an article on the "psychology of human wrongness," explaining how confidence in one's answers tends to be high for people who don't know what they're talking about. He says, "What's curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge."

Dunning goes on: "A whole battery of studies conducted by myself and others have confirmed that people who don't know much about a given set of cognitive, technical, or social skills tend to grossly overestimate their prowess and performance, whether it's grammar, emotional intelligence, logical reasoning, firearm care and safety, debating, or financial knowledge. College students who hand in exams that will earn them Ds and Fs tend to think their efforts will be worthy of far higher grades; low-performing chess players, bridge players, and medical students, and elderly people applying for a renewed driver's license, similarly overestimate their competence by a long shot."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

We Are All Confident Idiots

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:27PM (#48254891)

    This sounds a lot like many of the +5 insightful comments on Slashdot these days. Bold, confident one-liners to get that quick +5 but not actually knowing what one is talking about...

    • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:38PM (#48255041)

      I was thinking about the press.

      There's no way a journalist can crank out story after story unless they're completely unaware that they don't know what they're talking about.

      Any doubts in their own understanding would stop dead their fingers on their keyboards.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        OH I think they're perfectly aware of what they are doing, and it is intentional. They just don't care.

      • Nah, journalists have mental shortcuts that help them get through stories, the same way us programmers have mental shortcuts that help us get through extremely complex code in a day that would take a novice a month worried over minutea.

        I mean, it would be well beyond my knowledge level to actually describe those skills in any depth, and the best I could do is tell you what they teach at the beginning of intro to journalism courses, things like the 7 questions that get you your first two paragraphs or how to

        • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @06:17PM (#48256069)

          the same way us programmers have mental shortcuts that help us get through extremely complex code in a day that would take a novice a month worried over minutea.

          that sounds a bit confident. maybe it's too confident. maybe you are succumbing to Dunning-Kruger yourself!

          i find after 15 years on the job, i spend a lot more time worrying about the things i'm not thinking of. I was a lot more productive in my youth when i just blindly charged ahead; applying whatever pattern-du-jour to everything.

          • I blame women (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @06:50PM (#48256323)

            that sounds a bit confident. maybe it's too confident. maybe you are succumbing to Dunning-Kruger yourself!

            I have found that if I sound confident, other people will listen and follow, regardless of whether I know what I am talking about. I have also found that women tend to be attracted to confident, self-assured men, and are less concerned about whether the guy is actually right or wrong. So, if my theory is correct, men should display more self-confidence. Maybe the author already considered gender differences, but I didn't RTFA, I am just assuming that I am right.

            • ...which is funny because in East Asian countries (specifically China, Japan), being and sounding overly confident comes off arrogant and boastful.... EVEN IF you ARE confident about certain things. You'll just sound pompous, to the point where you have to fake inadequacy to get people to take you seriously.

              This would explain why nerdy and geeky men typically hook up with Asian women.
              *ducks*

      • Most of them hardly qualify as stories. It's just linking to an actual story (or even more blog spam) from another site and adding their own two cents.

        Many of the people who consume the stories don't care about this at all and are mostly just looking for something that validates their world-view, whatever that may be.

        Not only is there the natural human tendency to not want to be wrong (even if it means lying to ourselves or others in the process) but it's something that tends to be reinforced entirely
      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:33PM (#48255647) Homepage

        Well I think the proper behavior for a journalist is to try to be aware of how ignorant they may be, and instead focus on reporting what they've been told by experts-- making it clear that they're reporting what they're being told by experts, and making it clear which expert told them which thing.

        For journalists, it's not really their job to be experts. They're reporters, not philosophers. Sometimes they lose sight of that.

    • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:51PM (#48255195) Homepage

      Bold, confident one-liners to get that quick +5 but not actually knowing what one is talking about.

      You mean I wasn't getting +5 because I was awesome?!

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Only pointed out by the idiots suffering from the effect themselves.

      There's nothing that says that confidence implies ignorance. Well, other than the assertions by those suffering from the effect themselves.
      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        The more you know, the more you're unsure about. Of course, the more you know, the more you're sure about as well, but any sort of deep study perpetually raises more questions than it answers. Further, the deeper you study a subject, the more you realize you have only approximations - good, useful approximations one hopes, but still.

        Or, in the words of someone wiser than me, "the larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shore of uncertainty."

        • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

          Good point. In the article Dunning suggests that you would need to be competent to even recognize incompetence: "Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize -- scratch that, cannot recognize -- just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: for poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very exp

    • Mod this up! Oh, wait...

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:28PM (#48254897)
    He didn't mention /. posters.
    • by eparker05 ( 1738842 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:35PM (#48254999)

      Based on my experience, I'm pretty sure yours will be a highly rated comment :)

      • The problem here is that Prof. Dunning's principle could apply to anybody, including college professors.

        So how does he know he is correct?

        ---
        "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." -- Richard Feynman
        • Shh, nerd baiting makes the universe explode.

          • To be fair, Dunning makes it clear that his main point isn't that people simply don't know; they're not "ignorant" in the normal sense of the word but actually MISinformed.
        • by skids ( 119237 )

          He is completely confident that his underconfidence is a clear indicator that he knows what he's talking about, obviously.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Confidence increases with ignorance doesn't mean that all confident people are unable to gauge their own abilities.
        • Re:Left one out (Score:5, Informative)

          by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:09PM (#48255411) Homepage Journal

          How does he know he's correct is a fucking 20 page journal paper and bulky quantities of empirical data. Science has methodology to help test and validate hypotheses. It doesn't mean he's absolutely right about everything, but it is evidence the idea didn't come from nowhere.

        • Re:Left one out (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:28PM (#48255597) Journal

          The problem here is that Prof. Dunning's principle could apply to anybody, including college professors.

            So how does he know he is correct?

          It's a good joke, but it's also the key realization that led to the use of double-blind studies. Someone had published a paper to the effect that no human studies could be trusted, because the observer effect would taint the study. It was a really depressing paper until someone pointed out that it was itself based on human studies, and thus the conclusion shouldn't be taken too seriously. More serious contemplation of the problem eventually led to double-blind studies being the norm for serious work.

      • yours will be a highly rated comment

        +1 Accurate

  • Who? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:30PM (#48254915)

    If you've ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, you'll be familiar with David Dunning, professor of psychology at Cornell.

    I've never heard about David Dunning nor of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but I'm pretty sure I don't need to know.

    • The Dunning-Kruger effect is exactly what the summary is describing, and I do think it's rather interesting.

      I had no idea that Dunning's first name was David, and I wouldn't say I was familiar with him. I also know nothing about Kruger and don't really care to look him up personally.

    • Very funny. You just proved the Dunning Kruger effect is true. (The effect simply states that the less you know, the more sure you are.)
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:44PM (#48255099)

      You must not work in the corporate world. If you were not a confident idiot before joining, you will be after (or you'll be laid off). The guy who marches in the room with all the answers -> high value employee who knows his job and gets shit done. The guy who has more questions than answers? Incompetent idiot who ratholes meetings and deviates from the issue.

      The irony is that usually the second guy is the more knowledgeable person, he knows enough to know he doesn't know shit. Unfortunately as in politics, the person with the snappy answer sets policy.

      • Hey man, did you know your username is awfully close to "Austin Powers"?

        Yeah, baby!

        P.S.: we'll see if today's moderators come from the corporate world.

      • Yeah, I've been both of those guys at one time or another. I'll admit to falling into the confidence trap. If you think you are a smart person it easy to think you are also better at guessing the right answer. I find it difficult to hold both the idea that I am smart and that guessing is never reliable and often makes one seem stupid. I'm finding this is also a principle flaw in democracy. People vote without doing any research whatsoever on the issues and are very willing to have a firm opinion about thing

  • I wonder if that means anything.

    • Here's the thing that everyone in academia from philosophy to arts to sciences believes that helps shape the reliability of academic study: an argument stands on its own, based on the reasonableness of the ideas and observations that feed into it.

      People who are incompetent are going to arrive at several different wrong notions through several different flaws ways of approaching a problem. When arguments are well structured. those flaws can be pointed out, removed, improved on. Eventually, through the appl

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:33PM (#48254951) Homepage Journal

    I know this is petulant and pedantic, but Dunning-Kruger is statistical, and only reflects the naturalness of a lack of detailed introspection.

    More over, some people are genuinely competent at things. I want to object to the notion that it's an inescapable human failing, because Dunning and Kruger's research didn't show that. Just a strong overall trend.

    • Do you say that with total confidence?

      • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:44PM (#48255103) Homepage Journal

        I don't need total confidence to have a point. I know you're joking, but I don't post on slashdot hoping everyone comes and tells me I'm right.

        I post and hope someone comes and tells me I'm wrong in a way that's interesting enough to show me something new.

        • Think about it. Even for those of us who are smart enough to qualify our answers, we'll STILL say we're right even without a majority of the information needed to make a valid decision because we "know" better because usually, with experience, we're right. (But we're not really, we're just lucky) Sure, there's exceptions like heart surgery and rocket launches where you want to make a "go" decision with close to 100% accuracy as possible (but generally we still don't even get that close) but the great maj

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      It called the ability to learn. Many people do not have it. There is no issue with making a bold statement, or trying something at which one is not skilled. I find the issue develops when one is confronted with factual content, or alternative perspectives on more squishy subjects, and one still believes that one's own opinion is the only reasonable opinion. A person who can learn and grow is at least able to acknowledge that they might be wrong. For some people it is just maturity, as in the case of coll
    • More over, some people are genuinely competent at things.

      But not at everything.

      Everyone has some amount of incompetence in some field. And the smarter (or more competent) they are, the more likely they are to believe that their field of competence extends to other things....

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        And the smarter (or more competent) they are, the more likely they are to believe that their field of competence extends to other things....

        The smarter they are, the more likely they are to have read enough about those other things to be somewhat competent at them, so at least to some degree, they are probably correct in that belief, at least by comparison with a person picked at random from outside the field in question.

        There are certain personality types that seem to exhibit the Dunning-Kruger effect more

      • >Everyone has some amount of incompetence in some field.

        Correct. A great example of this is neurosurgeon Ben Carson. He's considered to be very capable in his field, but has internalized common Conservative beliefs like creationism, which usually only the least capable of us fall for.
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:06PM (#48255363) Journal

      This is why deliberate practice, as described by K Anders Ericsson, is so important. Deliberate practice is what makes experts, and summarizes in three simple concepts: goal-oriented behavior; a focus on technique; and constant, immediate feedback.

      By deliberate practice, a person is *looking* for their flaws, setting goals to push their competence, and immediately getting burned when they push beyond their abilities. This style of practice aims to draw attention to those behaviors which are incorrect--gaps in knowledge, weakness in skill--so that a person may reconcile these things and improve.

      Such practice continuously slims down the level of overconfidence, even as confidence increases. A person is appraised of their shortcomings, but also reduces them, simultaneously becoming more skilled and more aware of the weaknesses in their skill in that area.

    • I know this is petulant and pedantic, but Dunning-Kruger is statistical, and only reflects the naturalness of a lack of detailed introspection.

      More over, some people are genuinely competent at things. I want to object to the notion that it's an inescapable human failing, because Dunning and Kruger's research didn't show that. Just a strong overall trend.

      I think it stands to reason that those who don't know the details or have a depth of understanding on a subject can oversimplify things and believe the basis or solutions are simpler than they really are. I see this a lot in discussion of technical issues on /., where some can gloss over all the complications they are not aware of and propose solutions that seem quite logical when the underlying details are not considered . But, as you pointed out, one can understand the depths of a subject and have confide

    • I know this is petulant and pedantic, but Dunning-Kruger is statistical, and only reflects the naturalness of a lack of detailed introspection.

      More over, some people are genuinely competent at things. I want to object to the notion that it's an inescapable human failing, because Dunning and Kruger's research didn't show that. Just a strong overall trend.

      I wouldn't call it pedantic. Whether all people are major victims of this phenomena, or merely a substantial portion of people, is a critical distinction.

      Personally I think I'm relatively good at professing my lack of expertise and/or confidence in areas in which I have low competence.

      Unfortunately a person suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect would think the exact same thing.

    • by wrook ( 134116 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @06:19PM (#48256093) Homepage

      Dunning-Kruger, no matter that it doesn't predict the competence of a person based on their confidence, has significant consequences. For example, take a large group of people. Note that their competence in some field is a random variable with probably a gamma distribution. In other words, most people are around average competence and as you move into higher competence, there are considerably less people. Now allow those people to self organize and choose leaders. To make things simple, lets split everything up into groups of 10 people. 10% are leaders. They are chosen for their self confidence and outgoing nature.

      Interestingly, this will favour the less competent people, because they will be more confident. In fact, because most people are grouped around the middle, it will be difficult for them to distinguish competent from incompetent. This could make the incompetent candidates very much more successful. Now consider a second round. We are going to take 10% of the leaders and make them super leaders. They will be chosen by their peers based on their self confidence and outgoing nature. But now most of the people making the decisions are of lower competence. This will favour the incompetent even more.

      This is the beginning of a "talent inversion". Incompetent, but confident people rise to the top while competent, but cautious people stay at the bottom. Now imagine the politics that will evolve from this very simple starting point. Every time an incompetent senior person asks for the impossible, an incompetent junior person confidently strides up and promises results. Because they are both incompetent, they can happily fail, but convince themselves that they have actually succeeded. If you have ever worked in a big company, then you probably don't have to imagine.

      In other words, because of Dunning-Kruger life is unlikely to be a meritocracy. There are clear advantages to being competent, but one should not overlook the network effect of a group of confident, but incompetent people. Understanding that *you must deal with these people to ensure success* is key. In my career, I have found that borrowing some confidence from an "incompetent" co-worker, while lending some of my "competence" has been very successful. In fact, it is so useful to me that I have redefined my definition of competence. In truth, I was never very successful until I learned to look at things from other perspectives. No matter how right you are, if you can't act on it, it doesn't make much difference. And even if you are very wrong, acting often wins the day.

      It's a bitter pill to swallow for someone whose ego is bound up in their competence. But life is not fair.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:35PM (#48254989)
    Politicians...
    • by BringsApples ( 3418089 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:05PM (#48255359)
      Politicians actually don't have any of their own confidence, they take yours. That's the whole schtick to politics these days: Gain The People's Confidence. They each know how full of shit they are, and more importantly, they know how full of shit you are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Wrong, sir. Politicians are perfectly competent at what they were hired to do. The people who finance them are very pleased. And it shows in the reelection rates. They are not idiots by a long shot, not the winners anyway. Now, the voters, there you might have a point.

    • ...and Slashdot commenters talking about politicians.

    • It explains everyone. Society rewards confidence, even if that confidence is wrong. It does not reward ability at all, at least not directly.

      If you know something and are confident in it, people listen.
      If you don't know something but are confident in it, people listen.
      If you know something but aren't confident in it, people won't listen.
      If you don't know something and aren't confident in it, people won't listen.

      The only exception to this is when you have been wrong so many times that people gradually stop t

  • "What's curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge."

    The truthiness [wikipedia.org] of that seems pretty solid.

  • Seems consistent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:37PM (#48255017)
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:41PM (#48255069)

    People who know their stuff also know just how little they really know, and they tend to be cautious with their answers. People who don't, but know just enough to THINK they know a lot lack that inhibition. And they won't hesitate to use this to assert they know a lot. This in turn will be seen as determination and having a vision by management and now take a wild guess who will be in charge of making all the important decisions.

    And sometimes I can't help but wonder if knowing too much is actually keeping people from climbing the corporate ladder. It seems, the less you know, the higher your chance that you'll end up at the C-Level.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      And sometimes I can't help but wonder if knowing too much is actually keeping people from climbing the corporate ladder. It seems, the less you know, the higher your chance that you'll end up at the C-Level.

      Well yes, it's the people who found out they could delegate the job to others. Perhaps more importantly, it's the people who wanted to delegate the job to others. If you want to give them credit, maybe they're the ones who realized they weren't the best man for those nitty-gritty details and didn't want to take a deep dive into it. Engineers want to pick it apart and find out how it works, managers want to stack them and build a tower. I clearly prefer being a technical expert, if I'm "leading" someone it's

    • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @07:29PM (#48256537)

      And sometimes I can't help but wonder if knowing too much is actually keeping people from climbing the corporate ladder. It seems, the less you know, the higher your chance that you'll end up at the C-Level.

      I'm pretty sure I remember reading a study some years back about average IQ vs. salary. (Given the thread I'm discussing this in, I'm hesitant to say I'm sure of anything.) Anyhow, the conclusion was that people who made the big money in business tend not to be the smartest -- they tend to be somewhat above average, but not more than a standard deviation or two. Those results make some intuitive sense, given not only the parent's argument about ignorance, but also the fact that the people who possess rare intelligence often also end up with weird and eclectic interests, which means they often may be driven by some more esoteric obsession than the simple accumulation of wealth.

      But perhaps I'm just rationalizing, as TFA says.

      Anyhow, I would also agree with the parent to some extent because I think our current corporate culture specifically REQUIRES a certain level of ignorance to produce the results that many businesses want. There are very few corporations satisfied to be relatively "stable" from year-to-year. Growth, expansion, innovation, etc. are the normal desired features, even in businesses where basic methods don't change very fast.

      The most rational choice -- and probably the one adopted by intelligent, informed people -- would be one that probably approximates the average growth rate of the economy as a whole. For example, it's like the "invest in index funds" strategy -- from a rational, informed perspective, it's probably the course most likely to keep your investments stable.

      But lots of people are convinced that they have a strategy that will beat the market. Similarly, lots of people in mid-level management think they have a plan for a business that will involve risky choices to get ahead of competition, to expand at a great rate, etc.

      Obviously there will be a few people who actually ARE smart enough to figure out a strategy that's likely to beat the average. But there are probably 10 times as many people who THINK they can beat the average, but they're deluded.

      The problem is that if you gather enough such people together, a few of them are bound to have a string of "hits" just by chance. And those people tend to get promoted in our current corporate culture, because they apparently produce "results" which are far ahead of what the rational, informed, safer course would be... even if their "hits" were just a string of luck.

      And once you reach a certain level of management and size of business, even really bad decisions won't sink your career. For one thing, you increasingly rely on delegating those decisions to underlings who will take the fall unless a true disaster happens where they call for the head of the CEO. Instead of promoting the risky decisions yourself, you are in change of promoting the people who will do it, and some will get lucky... just like you did. And if you have a string of luck, you become a "great CEO." If you fail miserably (as is just as likely with chance), you take your golden parachute and retire.

      Basically, this is bound to be a case in a system where we promote people based on the idea that they will be overly aggressive and make strong decisions outside the norm, expecting results outside the norm. We're essentially demanding a level of exceptionalism that will tend to favor promotion on the basis of chance success (since few people have the skills to actually succeed that way due to skill). The demand for those sort of people will always exceed their supply -- which means lots of people will just get promoted for having a string of positive results outside the norm... even if it's the blind luck of someone who's too ignorant to choose a more rational and safer course.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:42PM (#48255077)

    Incompetence generally isn't fatal in today's society.

    So long as you can back it up with deflection ("Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM") which is a basic two year old skill ("I didna take da cookie!") you're not going to lose your position until you reach the level of GROSS incompetence and maybe not even then.

    The real problem is when you have skilled people who make mistakes, KNOW they make mistakes and qualify their answers because they know they may not be right. They're overridden by these same people that never accept failure but still give the wrong answers.

  • "He knows just enough to be dangerous."

    Most sw/dev managers I know fall in this category.
  • Not a new idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @04:48PM (#48255155)
    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin
  • Slashdotter geekoid [slashdot.org] has been on top of this for as long as I have left .sigs on

  • When I was a child I use to fret to myself if I was stupid would I be smart enough to know I was stupid. At the age of 56 this thought still comes back to me, but now as when my mental decline starts will I realize it?

    One can get into a loop thinking about these things, as the converse is that people that worry they don’t measure up, typically more than measure up. So if I think I’m below average does that make me about average, then the second I think I might be above average, boom I might be

    • Should be titled: Am I smart? I guess I'll never know.
      Answer seems clear now :-)

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Of course that could just be Dunning-Kruger blinding me to the brilliance of the current Republican vision.

      Quite the opposite. The Dunning-Kruger effect exhibited by those candidates blinds people to their general ignorance and lack of knowledge of even relatively recent history, economics, technology, or really much of anything as far as I can tell. They campaign on a few wedge issues that they know they'll never actually make progress on (e.g. abortion), while showing utter incompetence at everything th

    • That said I typically stand back aghast at today’s Republican conservatives – I may be wrong, but in general they seem mean and – yes I’ll say it – bigoted. Of course that could just be Dunning-Kruger blinding me to the brilliance of the current Republican vision.

      The question you should ask is whether you think the Democratic vision is amazing. Finding problems with one party is hardly original.

    • That said I typically stand back aghast at today’s Republican conservatives – I may be wrong, but in general they seem mean and – yes I’ll say it – bigoted. Of course that could just be Dunning-Kruger blinding me to the brilliance of the current Republican vision.

      I agree with you, but I also think the following is true too: :%s/Republican\|conservative/\={'Republican':'Democrat','conservative':'liberal'}[submatch(0)]/g;

  • by yorgo ( 595005 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:02PM (#48255323)

    Each time I see someone mention the D-K effect, they focus only on the first manifestation: unskilled individuals tend to suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate.

    But, there is an equal-but-opposite manifestation, as well: highly skilled individuals tend to rate their ability lower than is accurate.

    Why is this one typically ignored?

    • The effects of thinking you have more ability than you have are usually considerably more spectacular underestimating your ability.

  • I know I can out-troll anybody. Watch this!...

  • by uolamer ( 957159 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:09PM (#48255409)

    "The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, as lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras." - Wikipedia

    In 1995 McArthur Wheeler actually tested this beforehand with a camera. One way or another his test proved he was invisible, at least to himself.... (lens cap maybe? bad film? somehow didn't get himself in frame when taking the picture?).. He robbed two banks in plain daylight. Later was showed the CCTV footage and still didn't understand how it captured his face..

    I read about this a few months ago and just found this to be one of the funniest things. Imagine doing something so stupid a whole psychological theory was inspired.

  • ...management was born.

  • High profile examples of this personified:
    Homer Simpson
    Peter Griffin
    Sheldon Cooper
    And society will follow a confident idiot off a cliff before they will follow an unsure genius anywhere.
  • by weiserfireman ( 917228 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:22PM (#48255537) Homepage

    She asked me, "how do you know you are a good computer technician"

    Me, "because I know how little I really know. When I was a good amateur, I thought I knew a lot, and was confident, but now, I know so much more that I know what I don't know. That makes me a good technician."

    She was confused, but I now I know there there is a scientific name for what I was trying to explain.

  • getting a lot of flack in high school for answering "I don't know" to a lot of stuff. And not just from teachers ^^

  • Intelligence is.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @05:35PM (#48255665)

    Intelligence is knowing that everyone around you is full of shit.
    Wisdom is knowing you are, too.

  • Now I fully understand the CIO's decisions

  • Coin a new phrase (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scottingham ( 2036128 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @06:01PM (#48255909)

    I'd like to coin a new phrase: The Kruger Hump.

    This is the inflection point where you realize just how little you actually know. Up to that point is marked by the D-K effect.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @06:11PM (#48256011)

    ... Dunning-Kruger was the name of the business school our CEO got his degree from.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @07:06PM (#48256419) Homepage Journal

    As John Cleese pointed out, you need a minimum level of intelligence to even realize that you are stupid.

    Sadly, a huge percentage of the population is too stupid to realize that they're morons.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. Matches my experience. And unfortunately, the confident ones tend get promoted or elected.

    • by silfen ( 3720385 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:57PM (#48257445)

      Sadly, a huge percentage of the population is too stupid to realize that they're morons.

      More importantly, a huge percentage of intellectuals, politicians, government advisers, economists, regulators, and administrators are too stupid to realize that they're morons in almost everything other than a (usually irrelevant) narrow specialty.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @08:01PM (#48256769)

    The statement is "stupid people are confident" as in stupid(p) => confident(p).
    It is not "confident people are stupid" (i.e. confident(p) => stupid(p)). Confident people are a mix of a small group that actually has a clue and a large group that is stupid.

    As this discussion thread so far nicely shows, quite a few of the people here get the implication wrong. They are in the "large group".

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @08:53PM (#48257097) Journal

    Seems to explain the effect where a little knowledge in a field appears to make one reckless and dangerous, whereas deeper knowledge makes one cautious.

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions

Working...