Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning


Are you as good at things
as you think you are? How good are you at managing money? What about reading people’s emotions? How healthy are you
compared to other people you know? Are you better than average at grammar? Knowing how competent we are and how are skill stack up
against other people’s is more than a self-esteem boost. It helps us figure out when we can forge
ahead on our own decisions and instincts and when we need, instead,
to seek out advice. But psychological research suggests
that we’re not very good at evaluating ourselves accurately. In fact, we frequently overestimate
our own abilities. Researchers have a name
for this phenomena, the Dunning-Kruger effect. This effect explains
why more than 100 studies have shown that people display
illusory superiority. We judge ourselves as better than others to a degree that violates
the laws of math. When software engineers at two companies
were asked to rate their performance, 32% of the engineers at one company
and 42% at the other put themselves in the top 5%. In another study, 88% of American drivers described themselves
as having above average driving skills. These aren’t isolated findings. On average, people tend to rate
themselves better than most in disciplines ranging from health,
leadership skills, ethics, and beyond. What’s particularly interesting
is that those with the least ability are often the most likely to overrate
their skills to the greatest extent. People measurably poor
at logical reasoning, grammar, financial knowledge, math, emotional intelligence, running medical lab tests, and chess all tend to rate their expertise almost
as favorably as actual experts do. So who’s most vulnerable to this delusion? Sadly, all of us because we all have
pockets of incompetence we don’t recognize. But why? When psychologists Dunning and Kruger
first described the effect in 1999, they argued that people lacking
knowledge and skill in particular areas suffer a double curse. First, they make mistakes
and reach poor decisions. But second, those same knowledge gaps also
prevent them from catching their errors. In other words, poor performers lack
the very expertise needed to recognize how badly they’re doing. For example, when the researchers studied participants in
a college debate tournament, the bottom 25% of teams
in preliminary rounds lost nearly four
out of every five matches. But they thought they were winning
almost 60%. WIthout a strong grasp
of the rules of debate, the students simply couldn’t recognize
when or how often their arguments broke down. The Dunning-Kruger effect isn’t a question
of ego blinding us to our weaknesses. People usually do admit their deficits
once they can spot them. In one study, students who had initially
done badly on a logic quiz and then took a mini course on logic were quite willing to label
their original performances as awful. That may be why people with a moderate
amount of experience or expertise often have less confidence
in their abilities. They know enough to know that
there’s a lot they don’t know. Meanwhile, experts tend to be aware
of just how knowledgeable they are. But they often make a different mistake: they assume that everyone else
is knowledgeable, too. The result is that people,
whether they’re inept or highly skilled, are often caught in a bubble
of inaccurate self-perception. When they’re unskilled,
they can’t see their own faults. When they’re exceptionally competent, they don’t perceive how unusual
their abilities are. So if the Dunning-Kruger effect
is invisible to those experiencing it, what can you do to find out how good
you actually are at various things? First, ask for feedback from other people, and consider it,
even if it’s hard to hear. Second, and more important, keep learning. The more knowledgeable we become, the less likely we are to have
invisible holes in our competence. Perhaps it all boils down
to that old proverb: When arguing with a fool, first make sure the other person
isn’t doing the same thing.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

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  2. Really poor and inaccurate elaboration. Makes people doubt their competence and feel dependent on other’s opinion. Thumb down Ted.

  3. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d78712a58a3b14d09c887a6a01dd043a44c4dde231a66df47861efc7d0ba12c6.jpg

  4. I am the opposite.
    People thinks I am better than them, but I am think I am not. I am self critical, I think a lot about what I had done wrong and was it my fault or is there any way to solve it, is there any way to improve myself. The universe is very big and we know a very little about it.

  5. I have a friend who always goes on about how she’s smarter than everyone else and says she’s really smart when her grades are average 😬😬😬

  6. Well,im curious about my self what kind of a person i am and this video hits which make me realize and thanks for that,

  7. My parents and friends think I'm smart but I really just average. I am very driven towards my goals and that's what keeps on making me work harder than the competition.
    I am also very concerned about what people think of me even though I pretend that I am not and noone knows about it, this really influences my performances on tasks or tests

  8. I'm watching this for the second time. The last time I watched I was like I'm not one of them but today I come here realising how wrong I was.

  9. We'll for incompetent people getting dressed in the morning is quite the achievement although having ones pantaloons on backwards can be fun …

  10. Right now, all I can say is I couldn’t get past 47 seconds of this video due to the competence of the person who edited this video. Why? The background music is so darn loud I can’t concentrate on the talk. There’s a reason it’s called ‘background ‘. But no. The editor had to make sure it was loud and clear.

  11. Dont ask for feedback of your friends, they wouldnt admit youre better than them in any aspect.
    Ask for feedback to a master at that specific thing.

  12. 😂okay, an uncommon comment, yeah, time and again I realise I am not very competent and still am extremely confident, guess have to thank my parents, there was just so much security growing up that helped me be confident

  13. Wait so what if you think that you're competent yet incompetent at the same time? Does that make you competent to your incompetence of knowing that you're incompetent to your competence?

    im so confused

  14. The Kardashians are the richest people and they're delusional so I don't see a reason of why I shouldn't be

  15. You frogot to mention those who are over the compitent people, who can figure out the incompitent people and deal them at their level

  16. Hey my birth surname is Dunning ,,Christian name Patricia Ann ,am 71 years old,what that makes me I am just anti brexit and so weary of the worlds attitude to poverty,,to old to do much other than get very cross UK newspapers ,the Tory party, et al ,I live in Portugal which is I think is a privilege,,.as of now,,am a 6 year cancer survivor,, oh do I wish I could help civilisation,which is ,maybe arrogant ,it’s a real hope wish though,,,

  17. Basically a video explaining why the entire concept of democracy doesn’t work in a country without insurmountable wealth.

  18. It is entirely possible for 88 percent of drivers to be above average.

    For example: In a sample size of 100 drivers, 88 drivers pass the test with a 99% proficiency. 12 drivers pass the test with 1% efficiency.

    The average driver has a proficiency of 87.24%, meaning 88 out of 100 drivers were above average drivers. This can happen in cases where the skill-gap is sufficiently high or score is not distributed along the grading scale evenly.

  19. There are three things everyone finds hard. In order of difficulty they are:1. Being right.2.Admitting you're wrong and 3.Self-criticism, which this talk refers to. I believe 3. is impossibly difficult in the sense that we will never be able to learn to fairly assess (i.e.criticise) ourselves the way we can learn to criticise others.

  20. Too bad… Im literally incompetent and i know im incompetent coz i tried competing against people who are good at certain stuff :')

  21. A major problem with this video is that the Dunning-Kruger effect doesn't stand up two objects scrutiny. When you having read the original paper it is clear that the doubt it does not show what is claimed. The video is also wrong what it claims that the results defy mathematics, on the contrary mathematics, explain the results. Part of it is a natural tendency for us to think that we are average this is called the normalcy bias which is a well-known phenomenon. Second, when you display Two sets of constrained data the way it was the Dunning-Kruger paper the results as depicted are inevitable. In fact, you can get very similar results To those of Dunning and Kruger by plugging in random data. The simple fact is it when this " effect" and the actual data I looked at closely, it is clear that the Dunning-Kruger effect has no basis in reality.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yemQ-3-1SXI

  22. Usually when someone wants me to rate myself, they’re in a position of power or influence that could affect me, so I try to do whatever it takes to get a good outcome.

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