The Dunning-Kruger Effect – Cognitive Bias – Why Incompetent People Think They Are Competent

The Dunning-Kruger Effect – Cognitive Bias – Why Incompetent People Think They Are Competent

Socrates said the only true wisdom is
knowing when you know nothing but that’s not actually easy for humans to do
because our brains want us to think that we are awesome
in 1995 McArthur wheeler walked into a bank in Pittsburgh ready to rob it. He
didn’t wear a mask he didn’t have like a fake mustache he was just there robbing
a bank in full view of everyone he even smiled at the security cameras before
leaving and going to a second bank to rob that one – later that night the
security footage allowed the police to pick him up and take him off to jail
which shocked him he was shook I wore the juice he famously exclaimed wheeler
believed that rubbing lemon juice on his skin would render him invisible to
videotape cameras this is a cognitive bias at work and it inspired two
psychologists to create some experiments to understand it better cognitive biases
are everywhere have you ever met someone who has one like perhaps during a group
project at school or during an argument with a stubborn uncle or when you had to
toil alongside that co-worker you know the one I’m talking about
somebody who believed they knew things but really they didn’t believing you
know something you don’t is called the dunning-kruger effect it’s named for the
two psychologists who upon hearing about wheelers bank robberies formulated a set
of experiments to determine if wheelers Joos beliefs were due to some kind of
cognitive bias cognitive biases allow us to convince ourselves that something is
true even if the reality is different cognitive biases protect us from reality
they let us process information more quickly and they help us make decisions
more quickly but that doesn’t mean that they are good cognitive biases are
essentially a subjective social reality the dunning-kruger effect is in a
nutshell a way for everyone to feel good an above average internally because most
of us are actually completely average dunning-kruger can help explain why
people feel that they’re experts even though they know very little about
something a problem sometimes described by this graph the vertical axis is
confidence and the horizontal is experience imagine someone spent an hour
the wikipedia page about global warming then took to twitter to try in school
some climate scientists who have literally spent their lives studying it
you don’t have to imagine this because you know it it happens all the time this
cognitive bias is extremely common for example a 1992 survey of the engineers
at one company found that 42% of them 42% believed they were in the top 5% of
all the engineers at the company but that’s not actually possible 42 cannot
be 5 another example is driving one study found most people believe that
they are above average at driving but most people cannot be above the
average another survey of people aged 77 years and older jived with that as well
most assuming they were average or above average but again that’s not actually
possible most people have to be average because
that’s how statistics work the psychologists who first realized this
bias was part of the human fabric did so in for studies humor logic and reasoning
and English grammar we’ll just take one in the humor study the psychologists
asked two groups to rank jokes on a scale of 1 to 11 1 being not at all
funny and 11 being very funny group a was a set of average Cornell
undergraduates in Group B was a small set of professional comedians the idea
was to see if average people would believe that they were above average at
picking out what was funny or as good as professionals after group a had ranked
the jokes the researchers asked them to compare their ability to pick what was
funny against the professional comedians you know to rate themselves and
unsurprisingly on average everyone overrated their skills remember 50 is
average and the whole group together said that they did 66 which I would rank
as an 8 out of 11 on our joke scale but this is where the surprise comes in
those who did the worst placed themselves in the 58th percentile on
average they believed that they were better than 57 other people out of a
hundred their real score the 12th percentile they were worse than 88 other
people these were the victims of this newly-discovered cognitive bias the idea
that people with a little bit of knowledge or skill in an area
believe that they are better than they are Dunning and Kruger went on to show
that this bias exists multiple times with different experiments like when
assessing effective leadership raising children constructing a solid logical
argument and so on generally in each study the participants
in the bottom 25% of scores consistently ranked themselves in the 70th percentile
it is worth pointing out that self-confidence is extremely important
self-esteem is valuable we should all feel good about ourselves that said we
should also have a good assessment of what we’re good at and what we are not
good at for example I’m pretty good at making science videos I am not very good
at kung-fu farming or financial policy it’s easy to dismiss Dunning Kruger is
just over inflated ego but that’s not actually what’s happening even ego can
see its own limits and there are some serious examples of people not even
realizing their own failures thanks to this bias these experiments work not
just in humor illogical reasoning and rules of grammar but also have been
replicated in math skills wine-tasting chess firearm safety among hunters and
medical knowledge among surgeons and that’s where things get really serious a
74 year old woman awoke from a simple spinal fusion surgery in terrible pain
because her surgeon believed himself to be one of the best around instead he’s
now in prison for life he’s accused of maiming multiple patients and causing
two deaths meanwhile he claimed quote everybody is doing it wrong and that he
was quote the best in the whole state it’s pretty amazing that it took us so
long to give dunning-kruger a name because it is everywhere the more we
look for it the more we see it that said dunning-kruger doesn’t apply to
everything namely in areas where it’s easy to compare baking for example if
you assume you’re an amazing Baker then you bake a cake and it’s inedible it’s
pretty hard to deny that you’re a terrible Baker one paper I read said
that most people who play golf don’t believe that they are as good as Tiger
Woods when surveyed but I would guess if we asked they would still rate
themselves above average because an online survey of over 1,700 average
adults in Great Britain found that one in eight men believed that they could
score a point against Serena Williams the woman ranked number one in tennis
for more than six years that said it’s very important to point out the
dunning-kruger effect is gender neutral it applies to us all interestingly
though Dunning Kruger found the people at the top don’t
overestimate themselves in fact quite the opposite
dunning-kruger found the best around tend to rank themselves below their
actual performance yeah Nikkei has two parts people in the bottom 25% ranked
themselves at near the top and people in the top 25 tend to rank themselves a bit
lower than their actual score this can help us understand why it is hard to
counter dunning-kruger in order to know you don’t know anything you gotta have
to know something an example if your cognitive bias has you assume that
you’re amazing at driving but you only drive it and say rural
areas of the desert Southwest how would you ever find out that you’re bad at it
you would need to drive around others or take classes to learn good driving
habits or ride with someone who is objectively considered a good driver to
see what you’re doing wrong and then get that critique and recognize it and then
learn you think many of those people who believe they’re good drivers are gonna
do those things yeah I didn’t think so either in a bit of follow-up research
Dunning has found people who are low performers in reality are not good at
accepting criticism and often don’t show interest in self-improvement
he told Forbes quote research subjects were willing to criticize their own
previous poor skills once they were trained up and could see the difference
between their previous poor performance and their new and improved performance
but to get them to train up on their own was very unlikely if we never change the
knowledge that we assume we have then we can just keep on going thinking we’re
amazing who doesn’t want to do that even if we’re not yeh cognitive biases in the
end Dunning Kruger is a cognitive bias that can affect anyone and everyone if
you’re actually above average at any task you might be undervaluing yourself
and if your average or below average at some other tasks you’re probably
assuming you’re pretty good in the age of the internet everyone can be a
quote-unquote expert we all have access to infinite information our minds are
drawn to learn a little bit about a lot of things and that little bit of
information is enough to make us weak minded humans feel confident about what
we know even when we know nothing and add to that two global platforms of
social media and then everyone can feel like an expert and most won’t accept any
critique let’s face it I have probably been one of those people and maybe you
have too it’s crucial in today’s overstimulated
world to be able to differentiate a real expert from an overconfident novice and
that goes for understanding your value as well the key is know your talent
understand your pitfalls take criticism and keep on learning way back in 1871
long before we knew what Dunning Kruger was Charles Darwin wrote ignorance more
frequently begets confidence than does knowledge and it turns out he was right
I wonder if Darwin would have rated himself as being above average on that
one thanks so much for watching after school it was awesome to get to work
with mark on this I hope y’all liked it if you want to watch more science videos
check out my channel uno dos of tres I make a new video every week that
scratches that curiosity itch that we all have here’s a recent one on the
golden ratio and how it’s not quite the mystical magical thing that was promised


  1. Post
    Trace Dominguez

    I’m so excited about this! I did my best not to Dunning-Kruger this script about Dunning-Kruger, does that make me on the other side of the big spike in the graph or am I … … hmm. I’ll have to think on this. I hope y’all love it, Mark did a great job with the animation! 💕🥳

  2. Post
  3. Post
    Insane D

    Yeah … My personal example is that I know enough about wrestling (wrestled on state championship HS teams) and boxing/martial arts to understand that I know exactly jack and/or squat about MMA. Still love watching it though.

  4. Post
  5. Post

    As a person who has a lot of self underestimation in my work, but some overreaching on some other skills I’ve tried to acquire, this has been a very thought provoking video.
    So thanks for that.
    I’ll be thinking about this for a while. However, I can now relax about my constant research and training for work. It is a good thing.

  6. Post

    Something not mentioned here (or I missed it) is that in a group setting people will collaborate to fix your mistakes or insulate you from making mistakes. For example when driving, other drivers mark you as a bad driver and actively keep their distance, allowing you to think you're a good driver.

  7. Post
  8. Post
    Quiggity Quagsire

    Early this semester in my English class, we had a group class assignment where we had to read and critique each other's work and pick one to make a final draft out of. I read this one dude's paper and it had a lot of mistakes, so I gave him pretty basic notes, and he got pissed. I thought I was being polite, but he just wasn't receptive to criticism I suppose. The professor came over and confirmed what I was saying and he piped down, but I wondered if it was taken the wrong way or if he was just insecure about his writing. This video helped clarify the psychological aspect of it, and in general it was pretty interesting! Thank you.

  9. Post
  10. Post
  11. Post
  12. Post
    Zero Hate

    I think a lot of the cognitive dissonance people have comes from whatever side they've picked "politically." If information given conflicts with their preset ethics, they'll perform whatever mental gymnastics are needed to compensate. Evidence of this can be found in the comments on the video. Guess what, there is right and wrong on both sides. YeAh bUt mY siDe iS mOrE riGHt! Nope. If you think on those terms you're a victim of indoctrination. Your opinions have been made for you and you parrot the rhetoric of your party. The truth is a gray area where possibilities and variables determine opinion of action. Nothing is set in stone and reality is subjective.

  13. Post
  14. Post
  15. Post
  16. Post
  17. Post
  18. Post
    Local Man

    believing the world is round is a cognitive bias in of itself, though. there is no actual way to know for certain that it's any one particular shape, if any shape at all. people "think" they know this, because it's taught in school and such, but they are still taking information someone else is giving them as fact, they have not experienced the world being round for themselves, so it's impossible to know if it is or not.

    that's my opinion on this anyway.

    EDIT: also worth noting that this is my overall approach when it comes to listening to peoples theories on things, kind of like a "shrodingers cat" approach I guess, where it's both true and false at the same time until I can experience it for myself. I still can rate things probably, unlikely etc, but I won't 100% buy into anything unless I'm confident that I have experienced the phenomena in question for myself.

    maybe this doesn't make me as open minded as I think I am, but I can say that I won't dismiss things, just because they don't conform to what we taught in school (I never actually went to school much, and id all my learning later in life)

  19. Post
  20. Post
    John Lindsay

    A lot of people second-rate School teachers in English teachers because I fell badly what no I don't feel that one Google Voice spells badly it puts in words I don't say because I don't feel like typing out all that crud but yet you run out there and criticize my punctuation my grammar and my spelling so where you want to be school teachers go take a teacher's test and see how well you do cuz you can blame my bed spelling on Google Voice

  21. Post
  22. Post
    green miner

    A great saying is the more about something you know, the less you talk as if you know it. (Or something along the lines I know I'm butchering the saying)

  23. Post
  24. Post
  25. Post
    Bernard Guy Nunns

    The older I get the more concerned I become that I know more than a lot of people around me…and I know I'm mostly ignorant. Perhaps my thinking is all wrong.

  26. Post
  27. Post
  28. Post
    Sean Austin

    This video defines every theist who has listened to William lane Greg and every atheist who has read the god delusion

  29. Post
  30. Post
    Yoongi Trash

    Im really confused now because some days i feel like im a deeper thinker than average and get cocky as hell, but some days i feel like awful and i feel terrible. So i guess that prob just means im a basic bitch lmao.

  31. Post
  32. Post
  33. Post
    Gregory Fenn

    Just a thought, since it's election season, we are being asked to make huge decisions about national security, global warming policy, fiscal prudence vs social justice, economic efficiency, effective drug policy, and countless other hugely complex advance topics. Next Friday I have to cast my vote on all these issues, effectively, since the different parties claim to offer various solutions and I have to choose between them, effectively marking me as the designated expert — along with all the other adults in the voting franchise in the UK. When you expect people to make big decisions, it makes sense to want to big yourself up so as to rationalize and justify your massive responsibility.

    I'm not saying this is the cause of the DK effect of course, the example of random people thinking they could score a point against Serena Willliams in tennis can only be put down to self-delusion. But yeah, just wanted to throw in that thought 🙂

  34. Post
    David Messer

    Hmmm, I'm pretty sure I'm smart, but according to the D-K effect, that means I'm dumb. But if I know I'm dumb, doesn't that mean that I'm actually smart?

  35. Post
  36. Post
  37. Post
  38. Post
  39. Post
  40. Post
    Bill Lawrence

    "I'm dumb and I know it" is my favorite opening line, How ironic he had to use the analogy of people who question "climate scientists", who just happen to have a perfect, unblemished, 50 year record of being 100% WRONG in all their predictions. "Scientists" who have never used the scientific method to arrive at the conclusion that the world is about to end unless we hand over trillions of dollars to them and their sponsors.

  41. Post
    Steven Bean

    “I don’t fucking know, just take what someone said off the internet that sounded good and say it’s from someone like George Washington, that’ll make you seem smart.”

    – George Washington

  42. Post
  43. Post

    Here’s how to counter the effect-
    One- Admit what exactly it is you’re good at. For example, I’m good at writing; that’s not a bias, I generally write pretty well and understand the mechanics of writing.
    Two- learn what it is you’re assuming. I once wrote a paper and my professor said “you’re making a lot of generalizations, but where’s the proof?”
    Exactly, I had no proof of what I was claiming. Learning is the key to developing an argument and if you argue a point, you better back it up with research. Let’s say you’re talking about the Rwandan genocide and comparing it to the holocaust. You should of course know about both before you try to make a statement or argue your point.
    Three- this is probably the hardest one as stated in the video, but it’s to take criticism. Not many can say “you know I understand what you’re saying and I can see that I’m wrong.” It’s good to argue your point, and we tend to think that we are write even when presented with evidence that contradicts our ideas. The first step to realizing that we may not always be right is to take constructive criticism.
    Four- personal development leads to a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses. In other words, try new things. Like the video said, if you think you’re a good driver but drive in the rural southwest, how would you fare in a big city with bumper to bumper traffic? Explore and try new things to better understand what it is you’re good at, and what it is you’re not so good at.
    Also I’d like to say scientists love to name things; I probably understood this effect before I ever picked up a psychology book or watched this video.

  44. Post

    First or is it second? Nice Harry Potter Lego set! Also whoever drew those pictures is probably undervaluing their drawing skills!

  45. Post

    Realizing I used to be (probably still am) one of those stupid people arrogantly thinking I'm better and smarter than most. Cringe.

  46. Post
  47. Post
    Baruch Hashem

    Intelligence is the ability to learn – whereas stupid is the inability to learn.

    Anyone can learn nonsense and regurgitate it until others think they are an expert.

    Few, if any, can learn truly pertinent knowledge – that brings meaningful wisdom.

    The real question is:

    What is worth learning – since one person's pertinent info is another person's nonsense?

  48. Post
    Braedon Dowell

    You must be able to accept criticism and admit when you are wrong; learn from mistakes by asking questions and being patient. Take some time to research and ask many questions. Don’t gloat, and also, don’t imprison knowledge selfishly within. Control your emotions and don’t fall victim to unbeknownst idiocy. …Also, I could definitely score a point against Serena Williams 😁

  49. Post
  50. Post
    Harry J Bingham

    Anyone else freaked out that the reason youre less succesful than you feel you should be is because of this exact reason. Like I DO think im pretty smart, so im scared that Im actually just a pretentious idiot.

  51. Post
  52. Post
  53. Post
  54. Post
  55. Post
  56. Post
    William Mekhjian

    You have to be smart in your heart not your mind. If you dont believe that eat more apples. There's two kinds or good drivers by the law and driving for other people. Lots of truth there. Law abides are ones that usually wreck because they dont know how to respond to outside factors that aren't in a text book. This is going to be the downfall of us. Darwin was wrong also thought everyone knew that. You want proof of creation leave some food out. Watch the bugs literally come from nothing. Being how alot of them have lifespan of day or less. But this goes to show how much of an ego you have. You need humility before wisdom.

  57. Post
    Benjamin Cronce

    From what I've read, Dunning-Kruger is a lack of meta-cognition. One of the skills of meta-cognition is understanding what you know and recognizing when you don't understand something. This falls under the umbrella of abstract reasoning. Some professions have abstract reasoning as a core skill. Anyone affected by Dunning-Kruger is probably not that good at the technical aspect their job, regardless of experience or knowledge of a given topic. These professions tend to have massive power curves. Like 80% are below average and the top 5% produce 50% of the total value. Experienced people can be good at the game, but the abstract reasoners change the game in a way that makes everyone better. I wonder if these power curves are reflective of the skill distribution of meta-cognition or something else.

  58. Post
    Jarom Mossey

    So this is why newer generations think they know more than the older generations, then they grow up and realize they didn't know what they thought they did.

  59. Post
  60. Post
    jason stricklin

    The lemon juice would had never made him invisible best case scenario it would had made him smell like it and his skin would had been slightly irritated if anything.
    He would had been better off assembling a team and everyone wear a mask having a get away vehicle parked near by with a straight shot out the bank. Cant forget the gun
    Machine gun most effective
    His get away vehicle would had needed to be extremely fast.
    Issue here is he could never beat the silent alarm (or the police scanners) and most banks have one behind every counter (button that activates it)
    There is no such thing as stupid more or less just slow.

  61. Post
  62. Post
  63. Post
  64. Post

    I know a guy who has developed software for more than 25 years and still regards himself as "a little above beginner level" 😉

  65. Post
  66. Post
  67. Post
  68. Post
  69. Post
  70. Post
    NoobSlothGamin 697

    I guess I am one of the dumb people group cuz I don't accept criticism and have no interest in self improvement.

    P.s What an amazing video and gives something new to learn! Hope more are coming ❤

  71. Post
  72. Post
    Savannah Nason

    Okay so that’s why I don’t feel like I’m good enough or smart enough for college. (Not flexing its a community college.)

  73. Post
  74. Post
  75. Post
  76. Post
  77. Post
  78. Post
    john shoupe

    All of these studies are subjective and can not be accurate. I should know, because I'm like in the top 5% of all analysts of subjective studies.

  79. Post
    ALICE, Stan VICTON, and girl groups

    I’m not smart. No where near it. I’m probably the most stupidest person alive. Sure, I’m in advanced math and get A’s, but so do others! It’s a matter of how fast you can learn something and remembering it. It’s easily the best way to “get ahead” and “be the smart one,” yet you never really learn something as you will forget it in about two months. Who made the Punnet square? I don’t know, probably someone with a p in their name! Who’s the 26 president? I don’t have a clue!

  80. Post
  81. Post
  82. Post
  83. Post
  84. Post
    Michael Birdwell

    Bro, I could get a point on Serena Williams in a full match. It’s almost impossible to get swept every single point, even though I’m just on the High school team.

  85. Post
  86. Post
  87. Post
  88. Post
    Denis Stump

    If you're a liberal I believe you're talking about yourself FYI global warming is a dispute between the scientists 1 of the group is telling the truth the other group is getting paid off I believe in crap that they were taught by so-called experts they were not true and you're biased about global warming shows that you don't want to know the truth in my opinion for instance chemtrails they truly can't be good for the environment as much as they're spraying the skies but I'm sure that you think it's a good thing or a big hoax for whatever you think nevertheless I really believe that you're one of them

  89. Post

    What’s funny is that I think I’m one of the best songwriters of my generation, yet after watching this video I still swear it’s true.

  90. Post
    Herminio Cervantes

    I’m shook idk if I’m one of these people, I used to be above average, all As it but I’m pretty sure I’m rather retarded or lazy nowadays

  91. Post
    Venky Wank

    So if someone does some kind of introspection and concludes they suffer from dunning Kruger effect, what should they do?

  92. Post

    “Cognitive bias’s are, essentially, a subjective social reality” ie the people who believe there’s more than 2 genders or that they can change their gender.

  93. Post
  94. Post
  95. Post
  96. Post
  97. Post
  98. Post
  99. Post
    Ethan McIntyre

    The point system in tennis is different than in other games. You have to Win 4 points to win a game, and 6 games to win the match in professional tennis. Many people confuse a game as a point but you only have to win 1 rally to earn a point. If you are above average the in a college league the chances are you will score at least 1 point because you have a minimum of 24 points in a match which means you have 24 chances to score.

  100. Post
    Norm Allyn *IM A MAAM* Walkstrong

    "Im pretty good at making science videos"
    Sounds like we're a bit vain ourselves, arent we?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *