The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect or what I call, the backbone of the internet:

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.

The phenomenon was rigorously demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December, 1999.[1]

Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, playing chess or tennis or operating a motor vehicle, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (as Charles Darwin put it). Specifically, they hypothesized that with regard to a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,

1. incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
2. incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
3. incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
4. if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.