|by Flemming Funch|
The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.
I guess I feel a little better about feeling ignorant and incompentent sometimes.
The phenomenon was demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December 1999.
Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, that "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" (as Charles Darwin put it). They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,
1. incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
2. incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
3. incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
4. if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack
Oh, and here's a quote from a very wise man:
"I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything..." -- Richard Feynman