Dunning Kruger Effect- Causes, Effects, And Strategies To Overcome
Have you ever felt that is someone is acting more smarter than they are? Probably YES! A lot of times we come across people having such tendencies of Dunning Kruger effect. If we talk in a more bookish language you can understand the Dunning Kruger effect as a cognitive bias type of effect in which people tend to consider themselves smarter than they are in real life.
Essentially, people having low ability usually do not possess the expertise and skills required to determine their own incompetence. The combination of low cognitive ability and poor self-awareness leads them overestimating their capabilities for something.
Ever heard-” the fools are blind to their own foolishness”. The Dunning Kruger effect comes into play on such fools. Let’s see in detail what is dunning Kruger effect? and what can be done to overcome the Dunning Kruger effect?
Overview Of The Dunning Kruger Effect
I am sure this phenomenon of the Dunning Kruger effect has been experienced by everyone in their lives. It can be anywhere, it may be at dinner during family gatherings or meetings with your employees or colleagues. When you are in a family gathering you might have noticed or come across a member who starts spouting off on any topic at length. He or she will be broadly proclaiming that they are absolutely correct and shows that every other who puts forward their opinion is entirely wrong or foolish.
The other members will realize that the person who is speaking has clearly no idea what they are talking about, yet they will not stop prattling. They are blithely oblivious to their own ignorance.
The name of this effect came after the researchers who first used their skills of social psychology to determine it. The social psychologists were David Dunning and Justin Kruger. When they carried out this study of this type of psychological phenomenon, they performed 4 series of investigations to find out.
Research On The Dunning Kruger Effect
Kruger and Dunning gathered 65 people to perform their experiments. In their first experiment, Both Dunning and Kruger asked all their 65 participants to rate the level they found some jokes to be funny. Out of all the participants, some were exceptionally bad at finding out and determining what exactly other people found funnier. Even after they could not determine what other people thought was funny, they considered themselves to be the best judges of determining the senses of humor.
The people whom the researchers found to be incompetent were not only among the poor performers, but they also were unable to judge and determine their own quality of functions. They could not assess accurately. This is one reason that many times we come across students who usually get failing marks in exams but they feel many times that should have got higher marks because they wrote pretty well and deserved better.
These types of people have the tendency to overestimate their abilities and knowledge but are highly poor and not capable of seeing the poorness their performance holds.
Dunning wrote in an article that the incompetence ability does not leave them perplexed, confused, or disheartened rather than this they are mostly blessed with huge and inappropriate confidence. This confidence is buoyed by something that looks knowledgeable and informational to them.
Dunning Kruger Effect has a profound impact on a person’s belief, the decisions made by them, and the actions they often take after deciding.
Another study performed by Dunning and Ehrlinger included a science quiz between men and women of various age groups. The results were likely the same, both men and women performed equally well. In spite of getting equal scores the women questioned their own abilities and underestimated how they performed because they believe their scientific reasoning and abilities are less than that of men present there. As a result of this preoccupied belief, women are less likely to participate in science quizzes in the future.
Other experiment or study conducted by the Dunning Kruger they made a list of some questions and asked the respondents if they were aware or studied many terms related to subjects like politics, physics, geography, and biology. The questions asked were genuine and entirely related to the subject. Again, even this study introduced similar made-up terms.
In one study, nearly 90% of the total people present in the experiments claimed that they are having some of the other knowledge on the list of terms made by Dunning and Kruger. Dunning suggested after all the experiments that the very issue with ignorance by such people is that it just feels like expertise to them.
Causes Of The Dunning Kruger Effect
What do you think will explain the Dunning Kruger effect or this psychological effect? do you think some people are too dense simply to be so blunt or they do not realize how dim-witted they appear?
According to Dunning and Kruger, this psychological phenomenon stems from what they have referred to as a “dual burden”. We cannot just say that the people are incompetent, but this incompetent nature of theirs robs their mental abilities to even make out how inept and inexpert they are to others.
People who are incompetent has tendencies to:
- Mostly overestimate their skills and abilities.
- They fail to determine and recognize skills that are genuine and expertise of fellow people.
- Not able to recognize their own flaws or mistakes and sometimes lack of skills.
Dunning has also pointed out that the exact skills and knowledge needed to be amazing at a task are the same qualities that the person needs to know or recognize that they are not great in that particular task.
According to what Dunning has pointed out through his research, if a person lacks certain qualities to perform work, they will not only remain bad at performing that task but also they will be ignorant of their own abilities.
Let’s see what are the causes of the dunning and Kruger effect:
Inability To Determine Their Own Mistakes And Lack Of skills
According to Dunning, having a deficit of expertise and skills to perform certain work creates 2 types of prolonged problems. First is the people will perform poorly in the organization they are working in if they are incompetent in that. Second is their deficient and erroneous knowledge makes their brain foggy to realize their own mistakes.
Lack Of Metacognition In A Person
This psychological effect, the Dunning and Kruger effect is also related to problems with Metacognition. Metacognition refers to stepping back and looking at your own behavior and skills from outside.
People are often able to estimate themselves from their high and limited subjective points of view. From their limited perspective towards things, they see themselves as highly skilled, very knowledgeable, and superior to other people. due to these abilities of that person, they lack cognitive skills. They do not have any realistic view to realize how capable they are.
Little Knowledge Equals Overconfidence
Another contributing factor to the Dunning Kruger effect. You might have often seen or heard that very little knowledge on any subject can lead people to mistakenly assume that they are aware of everything present related to that subject for the matter. There are old sayings too, which indicates that a little knowledge is highly dangerous.
Thanks to the Dunning Kruger effect, a person having even the slightest knowledge and awareness on a subject considers themselves to be an expert.
Other than metacognition, lack of skills, and little knowledge, some other factors that determine the Dunning Kruger effect include the usage of heuristics. Heuristics or mental shortcuts help humans in making all the decisions in a span of few seconds or very quickly.
Our constant habits of seeking out patterns even if there are none present or available in another cause of the Dunning Kruger effect. Our brain is primed to try to create a sense of a contrasting array of info. we get to know and deal with regularly. When we try cutting through this confusion and try to interpret our abilities in this world, there is nothing surprising in the fact that we fail at times. Sometimes we cannot judge how well we are doing, although it is common, if it crosses limits it can lead to the Dunning Kruger effect.
People Affected With Dunning Kruger Effect
You might be wondering who is affected by the Dunning Kruger effect? Unfortunately, all of us fall in that category. The reason behind this is no matter how experienced and informed a person is, every person has some areas in which they do not have any prior experience or knowledge related to certain terms. You might be very skilled in certain areas and possess excellent knowledge, but no individual is entirely perfect in all the fields of knowledge as knowledge has no limits.
In real life, a surprising fact is that we often come across people having dunning Kruger effect psychology or we ourselves end up making mistakes and not realizing them. People who are genuine experts in some areas of knowledge on any subject might start believing that their knowledge implies another field of knowledge too, but it is not so most of the time. For example, a brilliant scientist that the world knows might not be good at writing. Writing required composition and grammar to work through, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Do not confuse the Dunning Kruger effect with low IQ. As awareness of this term has significantly increased, it also misunderstood as being stupid or fool. This is because it is easy to judge people without realizing you might have done the same.
Dunning Kruger effect has found that those people who belong at the high end of the spectrum of competence, are able to hold more realistic views on their capabilities and knowledge unlike people on the highly incompetent end. However, even these experts tended to underestimate their own abilities in relation to how other people did.
Most importantly, the top scorers already know that they are quite better than average people, but as seen closely, they are not highly convinced of how better they are. The problem here is not that experts do not realize how knowledgeable they are, the problem is that they see everyone else to possess the same level of knowledge or quite less than they have.
Ways To Deal With Dunning Kruger Effect
After reading so much on the Dunning Kruger effect, you might be wondering if there any strategies you can apply to overcome or deal with this psychological phenomenon. Do you think there will be some point in which incompetent people will realize how inept they sound or become?
According to Dunning, we are prone to experience this Dunning Kruger Effect and humans are certain engines of disbelief. Learning and reading more about how our brain works, the mistakes we could make at any time can be a step forward for dealing with the Dunning Kruger effect in general.
Kruger and Dunning after experimenting and giving this phenomenon have suggested that as our experience with the knowledge of any subject becomes vast, the confidence we had previously also declined to more realistic levels. It is a human tendency, as we learn more about the subject, we begin to recognize our own ability and lack of skills.
As we start gaining more information, we begin to become experts, and our confidence gets boosted on many realistic levels.
How can we gain more knowledge and overcome the Dunning Kruger effect through self-assessment is the question right now. Let’s see how.
- Take your time: it is often seen that people feel more confident if they take their decisions quickly without thinking too much. If you feel you are going through this psychological phenomenon, try to take some time and think of all the cons and pros before proceeding with a decision in any situation. this will help you avoid snap decisions.
- Challenge Your Claims: Have you ever felt that you have some assumptions that you have taken for granted? Do not just rely on your inner gut to guide you or tell you what is wrong or right. Be you won devil’s advocate. Try to come up with certain rebuttals or counterarguments to your own thinking and ideas.
- Change The Reasoning: Are you one of those people who usually apply the same reason for every problem or question you encounter. It could be the same type of behavior or thinking pattern. You have to try to find out new ways to break these patterns. This will help decrease the metacognition and increasing your confidence in yourself on realistic grounds.
- Learn To Seek Criticism: When you are at work, take every criticism seriously. Investigate the claims made that you find objectionable or you do not agree and ask for examples and evidence of you can become better and improve.
- Question Your Own Views: We all have few longstanding views on ourselves. Did you ever feel that you are a great listener? Or you are amazing at politics? According to the Dunning Kruger effect, you should be more considerate and critical while you are assessing yourself.
Keep challenging what you believe and look for evidence that proves your point. If you do not find one, accept that you are not always right. You have to become a better listener and understand things. The other person can have a more realistic approach to problems on any subject than you have. It is not the time to put forward your counter statements every time.
Some Examples Of Dunning Kruger Effect
Dunning Kruger Effect At Work
When you are at work, it can be difficult for you to realize where you are wrong and correct your mistakes. Due to these reasons, employers often conduct reviews for your performance. Some are competent and they work according to the feedback received, while some employees are highly receptive to the criticism they have received in spite of the act that it is for their betterment.
Reaching for any excuse is tempting, for instance, the person will end up saying the reviewer team doesn’t like you.
Usually, supporters of political parties that oppose each other have different views. A study was conducted in 2013 in which various supporters were asked their opinions on certain policies made by govt., according to the research, people had the utmost confidence in what they believed and their political parties.
After studying all the policies, it was found that all these people knew very little about every policy they rated, and still, they were full of confidence. This suggests that the Dunning Kruger effect lies in political as well.
Have you ever made plenty of plans to be completed in a single day, it could be related to your exams or studies or any activity you wished to perform. You become overly optimistic and write down a lot of things you need to complete before the sunsets. We do this to maximize our productivity, but many days come when we cannot tick all the activities we noted.
This can be partially due to the Dunning Kruger effect. We believe that our efficiency is quite high and can complete every task within a day but we often fail.