Your Doubts and Dunning-Kruger Effect

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By: MJ Gonzales | Executive Chronicles

To know your edge, it’s good to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What if your assessment is not accurate simply because you have cognitive bias about your competencies? Here’s what you should know about Dunning-Kruger Effect and why we need to be true in assessing ourselves:

Dunning-Kruger Effect is the study of David Dunning, an American social psychologist and University of Michigan professor of Psychology, and his student Justin Kruger. This study tells that the incompetent individuals are actually clueless and overestimate their capacities.

“What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious,” Dunning shared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge. A whole battery of studies … 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.”

Narrow-mindedness tendencies because of false knowledge.  According to Dr. Steven Novella, an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, one cause of Dunning-Kruger is ego.  Besides that egoistic can’t admit that they’re “below average,” they also think they’re superior compare to others and only seek knowledge that proves their ideas, which is sign of confirmation bias.

“As we try to make sense of the world we work with our existing knowledge and paradigms, we formulate ideas and then systematically seek out information that confirms those ideas. We dismiss contrary information as exceptions,” President and Co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society explained.

stress buster photo by Jordan Sanchez (unsplash)
Credit: Jordan Sanchez /Unsplash

Don’t worry if you have doubts.  Another possibly good point about Dunning-Kruger effect to be skeptical sometimes. It proves your self-awareness and you find ways to solve your issues. Dunning defies that having education is the “antidote to ignorance” particularly if its result is illusory confidence.   Furthermore, doubting helps to avoid rampant misinformation.

“The most difficult misconceptions to dispel, of course, are those that reflect sacrosanct beliefs. And the truth is that often these notions can’t be changed. Calling a sacrosanct belief into question calls the entire self into question, and people will actively defend views they hold dear,” Dunning explained, via Pacific Standard.