Someone who has very little knowledge in a subject claims to know a lot
- This phenomenon has a name: the Dunning-Kruger effect
- it is present in everybody to some extent
- Socrates said “the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.”
- Darwin in 1871 with “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
- incompetent people think they know more than they really do, and they tend to be more boastful about it
- Time after time, no matter the subject, the people who did poorly on the tests ranked their competence much higher … in the 1999 paper by Dunning/Kruger
- Dunning and Kruger’s results have been replicated in at least a dozen different domains: math skills, wine tasting, chess, medical knowledge among surgeons and firearm safety among hunters
- Dunning-Kruger “offers an explanation for a kind of hubris,”
- If you’ve ever felt confident answering questions on an exam, only to have the teacher mark them incorrect, you have firsthand experience with Dunning-Kruger.
Dunning says the effect is particularly dangerous when someone with influence or the means to do harm doesn’t have anyone who can speak honestly about their mistakes
- “You get into a situation where people can be too deferential to the people in charge,”
- “You have to have people around you that are willing to tell you you’re making an error.”
- Dunning’s follow-up research shows the poorest performers are also the least likely to accept criticism or show interest in self improvement.