Dunning-Kruger Effect

Have you ever met someone who knows everything in this world from politics to stocks, mythological to mars, gold to bitcoin?

The chances are more that you came across such people in your life. The problem with these people is that they might be very strong in one area and they think they have the same in other areas as well. These type of people overestimate their skills in other areas and the funny thing is most of them are not even aware of this bias. In psychology, this is called Dunning-Kruger effect.

What is Dunning-Kruger Effect?

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with limited knowledge in any given domain overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain. It simply means when we don’t know something, we are not aware of our own lack of knowledge. We often overestimate our skills and most of the times we are even unaware of this bias.

How it got originated?

The Dunning-Kruger effect, coined by the psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999 paper by Cornell University. The two psychologists have tested several participants based on their logic, grammar, and sense of humor.

The result found that those who scored lowest on the test tended to drastically overestimate their abilities in grammar and test score. In contrast, those who scored highest on the test tended to underestimate their ability and test score. Several other studies have reproduced the similar results.

What are the causes of Dunning-Kruger Effect?

Overestimating their own skills or abilities.
Failing to recognize the skill and expertise of other people.
Failing to recognize their own mistakes.

Who is affected by the Dunning-Kruger Effect?

We are all affected by this Dunning-Kruger effect. We might be smart and skilled in one or many areas, but that doesn’t mean that we are experts in everything.

People who are genuine experts in one area may mistakenly believe that their intelligence and knowledge carry over into other areas in which they are less familiar.

How to overcome the Dunning-Kruger Effect?

Here are some of the tips on how you can overcome the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Keep learning and practicing:
We should never assume that we know all about the subject. We have to go deep on the subject. The more we learn, the more we realize that we don’t know.
Ask other people’s feedback:
Take constructive feedback. It provides valuable insights into how others perceive our abilities.
Question your beliefs:
Don’t fall for confirmation bias. Keep questioning our beliefs and seek out information that challenges our beliefs and ideas.

As William Shakespeare said,

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Footnotes : References from various articles published on Internet

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