Feeling confident today? Like you are ready to take on the world? You know your stuff and you are ready for anything.
This may not be good news.
A ten year old study (that I just heard of today) by two researchers at Cornell University, Justin Kruger and David Dunning reaches some amazing conclusions that will surprise almost no one, but should make you a little uncomfortable at the same time.
The essence of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.”
Their studies show that the most incompetent individuals are the ones that are most convinced of their competence. An important corollary of this effect is that the most competent people often underestimate their competence.
The really interesting thing is that after being shown clear evidence of their incompetence relative to others who had taken the same test, they still did not have the tools to recognize their incompetence. It was only through actual learning that they could come to recognize their previous incompetence. As long as they remained incompetent they likewise remained convinced of their competence.
The researchers point out that there is no bright line that divides the competent from the incompetent, and that in fact we are all competent at some things and incompetent at others.
But it does make you think...