Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"...his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity"

Mr. T sent me this link to an "Opinionator" column in the NY Times.

He thought that maybe it would pique my interest and yeah, it did. It explains a lot, does it not? Stupidity keeps stupid people from ever recognizing that they are stupid. It's called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Dunning and Kruger argued in their paper, “When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine.” It became known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect — our incompetence masks our ability to recognize our incompetence. But just how prevalent is this effect?

Not only that, but if you look up the Dunning-Kruger effect, it's even more startling. This is from Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which "people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it."[1] The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to the perverse situation in which less competent people rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence: because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. "Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."

Which is a logical sort of way takes me back to my old friend in Michigan, the one who was the only person I ever met who admitted that she wasn't very smart. She apparently does not suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Interesting reading.

No comments: