Gas Week

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Dunning-Kruger effect: those with low levels of skill generally overestimate their competence while skilled people almost invariably underestimate

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The reason the idiot you work for had no idea how bad he was at his job might be due to the Dunning-Kruger effect – almost without fail, those with low levels of skill overestimated their competence, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (22/9/2007, p. 47).

Bright sparks underestimate ability: The effect’s discoverers, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, also asked people who were skilled at a particular activity to rate their competence – and these skilled people almost invariably underestimated their competence. (That may be why when you ask a question of an expert in a field they sometimes find it difficult to give you a black-or-white, yes-or-no answer, because they know there are limits to what they know.)

A little knowledge can be an enlightening thing : Then Dunning and Kruger took things a step further and showed that if you improved an individual’s competence in an activity, even by only a little, they were suddenly able to make more accurate assessments of their competence. When it came to investing, knowing your competence level was a critical step towards success. You had to know what you could do, what you couldn.t do, and which bits you were likely to need help with.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/9/2007, p. 47


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