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Beware Of The Dunning Kruger Effect

Dunning Kruger Effect

A few days back, I wrote about the Paradox of Knowledge. The more knowledgeable you become about something, the more you realize the extent of your ignorance in that domain.

In contrast to the paradox of knowledge, another concept in psychology called the Dunning Kruger Effect suggests that the less experience or expertise someone has in any field, the more confident they will feel in their beliefs. Unfortunately, people who suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect tend to confuse confidence with competence.

Dunning Kruger Effect
Dunning Kruger Effect

This concept was first coined by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999. They argued that the scope of a person’s ignorance is often invisible to them. Particularly, in fields where they were underqualified.

I suffer from the Dunning Kruger bias when I passionately argue about how the Indian Cricket team should play the game to win. I am a couch coach.

Another common example. In many workplaces, employees have very strong convictions about what management is doing wrong without knowing all the facts. They are potentially suffering from the Dunning Kruger bias.

The risk with the Dunning Kruger effect is overconfidence. The more you are convinced you are right about something, the more likely you are wrong.

Philosopher Bertrand Russel said something wise- The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts. It appears he was aware of this paradox even before it was coined by Dunning & Kruger.

The next time you feel absolutely convinced about something, think again- perhaps it is your ignorance masquerading as your confidence.

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