Monday, November 10, 2014

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

For an explanation of this effect, I'll quote Professor Dunning from an article he wrote for the Pacific Standard, October 27, 2014.

"In 1999, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, my then graduate student Justin Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize—scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers—and we are all poor performers at some things—fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack.

"What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge."

Clearly, this was (and is) a problem among cult members. How could I know what I didn't know? This, of course, was exacerbated by the confirmation bias, as I accepted information that confirmed my beliefs, interpreted ambiguous information as confirming my beliefs, and rationalized away any information that might threaten my beliefs. This accumulation of false and misinterpreted information only served to strengthen my confidence in my faith.

Considering all this, it's a wonder anyone can leave such a group. Thankfully, I did, but that story is yet to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment