Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Kristjan Wager explains the Dunning-Kruger effect [pdf]:
The "above-average syndrome" is, simply put, that the average person in a given field will believe themselves to be above average. In other words, more people believe themselves above average than really are. Obviously, only 50% can be above average, but there are perhaps 80% who believe they are. ...

Dunning and Kruger looked at the above-average effect, and formed the hypothesis that it takes skills to evaluate yourself. With that hypothesis in mind, they set out to make a number of experiments to either disprove it, or to support it. Since I'm writing about the effect now, you've probably already figured out that their experiments supported their hypothesis.
Read the rest.


  1. It's interesting that those in the top quartile of performance *underestimate* their skill, and place themselves in the second quartile. Imposter syndrome?

  2. Thanks for the clear and concise explanation!

  3. Here's a link to a YouTube video on the same research:

    (BTW: it takes about a full minute for your blog page to open on my, admittedly, slow computer but I don't have this problem on other pages... just thought you'd like to know)

  4. Loads fine for me, and a good video. Thanks HD!


Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.