Skip to comments.Unskilled and Unaware of it
Posted on 10/17/2002 6:53:35 AM PDT by gridlock
Unskilled and Unaware of It:
How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
Justin Kruger and David Dunning
Department of Psychology Cornell University
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their
abilities in many social and intellectual domains.
The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs,
in part, because people who are unskilled in these
domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people
reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices,
but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive
ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors
found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile
on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly
overestimated their test performance and ability.
Although their test scores put them in the 12th
percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.
Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits
in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish
accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the
skills of participants, and thus increasing their
metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the
limitations of their abilities.
It is one of the essential features of such incompetence
that the person so afflicted is incapable of knowing
that he is incompetent. To have such knowledge would
already be to remedy a good portion of the offense.
(Miller, 1993 , p. 4)
In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. "But I wore the juice," he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras ( Fuocco, 1996 ).
We bring up the unfortunate affairs of Mr. Wheeler to make three points. The first two are noncontroversial. First, in many domains in life, success and satisfaction depend on knowledge, wisdom, or savvy in knowing which rules to follow and which strategies to pursue. This is true not only for committing crimes, but also for many tasks in the social and intellectual domains, such as promoting effective leadership, raising children, constructing a solid logical argument, or designing a rigorous psychological study. Second, people differ widely in the knowledge and strategies they apply in these domains ( Dunning, Meyerowitz, & Holzberg, 1989 ; Dunning, Perie, & Story, 1991 ; Story & Dunning, 1998 ), with varying levels of success. Some of the knowledge and theories that people apply to their actions are sound and meet with favorable results. Others, like the lemon juice hypothesis of McArthur Wheeler, are imperfect at best and wrong-headed, incompetent, or dysfunctional at worst.
Perhaps more controversial is the third point, the one that is the focus of this article. We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine. As Miller (1993) perceptively observed in the quote that opens this article, and as Charles Darwin (1871) sagely noted over a century ago, "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" (p. 3).
(Excerpt) Read more at apa.org ...
Found this linked over at AndrewSullivan.com. Great stuff.
LOL!!!! Great stuff, Exp89. Thanks for the ping.
Looks like I got me a new line to use whenever I make a mistake, "But I was wearin' the juice!" :)
Don't know and know that you don't know.
Don't know and don't know that you don't know.
Apparently, there are a lot of persons in the last category.
Exhibit A: Madelaine Albright
I get this. Its similar to a wise man understanding that he is really not all that wise.
For the record, what is stupidty?
Is stupid a condition that can be remedied or is it a congenital condition that cannot be corrected with education?
The old Greek said it first.
Umm, jack who?
Or did you hear the story of the junkies caught sharing a second-hand syringe? "Don't worry" they replied "we're all wearing condoms."
Anyway, timely topic, given the last 10 years'"self esteem" psychology.