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Dunning-Kruger Effect (The Idiot) June 11, 2009

Posted by Richard Foote in Richard's Musings.

In an interesting blog piece by Martin Widlake regarding his annoyance at just how unhelpful some people can unfortunately be in forums, Jonathan Lewis has a really interesting comment regarding the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

I’ve never heard of it before, but it’s really all quite fascinating. In short, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is when someone keeps making mistakes or coming to wrong conclusions but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realise it. Some of the hypotheses of this effect include:

  • Incompetent people tend to overestimate their own level of skill
  • Incompetent people tend to fail to recognise skills in others
  • Incompetent people tend to fail to recognise the extent of their own inadequacies

David Dunning and Justin Kruger who came up with this theory won an Ig Nobel Prize for their report “Unskilled and Unaware Of It: How Difficulties In Recognising Ones Own Incompetence Lead To Inflated Self-Assessments“. The Ig Nobel Prize is given each year for 10 achievements that first make people laugh and then makes them think.


Boy, did I had a chuckle when some people instantly sprang to mind as I read about it all 😉