Dunning-Kruger Effect


dunning kruger

I came across this photo from my game design class last spring. I shared it at iheartchaos a while ago, but I don’t think I ever shared it here.

We covered this in a discussion about cognitive biases. I really like the reminder that noticing one’s lack of knowledge in an area isn’t a disaster, it’s one of the first steps to becoming good at something new.

I also like to whisper Dunning-Kruger to myself when people around me are being useless and annoying.

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3 Responses to Dunning-Kruger Effect

  1. bridget says:

    The other part of Dunning-Kruger (i.e. that incompetent people cannot determine when another person is competent) sometimes makes me feel better. “Oh, that’s why only the people who call me scientifically ignorant all struggled with high school chemistry!”

    • Meg says:

      #1 Yes. http://simpsonsparadox.com/2012/05/words-with-coworkers.html

      #2 It’s also a good reminder that very often someone who’s very difficult to work with is not being intentionally obtuse, they’re just unfamiliar with the material, and they’re making what, with very limited knowledge, seems like a good decision. Of course, some people ARE just jerks…

      • bridget says:

        1. Ha! I would have used the Greek term (theos ek…) for the Greek world, but I suspect that wasn’t your boss’ complaint. 🙂

        2. There’s just too much knowledge out there for anyone to have even a reasonable grasp of everything. I’m reminded of the comment about Socrates being the wisest man in the world, for he knew what he did not know.

        There are some doozies – “The five attorneys I’ve talked to said that it’s not a viable case, but they just don’t have the fire in their guts to go after these people.” Or the kid who skipped every class in law school, sponged off me (and others) for outlines, never did his homework, barely passed, and then told me that I do not have even a rudimentary grasp of the way that the law works. Dense, and jerk, IMHO.

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