disembodied quote: dunning-kruger

In German study, eighty per cent of those surveyed described themselves as confident in their answers on a questionnaire, yet only forty-two per cent got even half the questions rights. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect: people who don’t know much tend not to recognize their ignorance, and so fail to seek better information.

Whereas this quote is from a back issue of The New Yorker, in an article on financial illiteracy and how people who don’t know much make bad decisions or are taken advantage of by unscrupulous bankers, the notion (the Dunning-Kruger effect) that if we’re ignorant we often don’t know that we’re ignorant and yet remain confident in our abilities is intriguing to me, one that I’ve come across a couple of times recently. If we don’t know that we don’t know something, how would we know to learn more than we know?

3 thoughts on “disembodied quote: dunning-kruger

  1. It is self defining. Ignorance, from the basis to ignore. How much of life do we ignore? I would say about 98% of it! 🙂 Someone once said “It is what we don’t allow to happen that keeps us from being free.” I find this true in my life. I am more concerned with what is happening to me, how i feel, what i am doing, what plans am i making, basically self-centered. Usually when i can stop this and look out at the world without the colored self lens i have on most of the time, the world is very interesting, and i usually learn something new about it.
    Great post, thanks for reminding us how vast our universe is!


  2. I’ve just started learning to drive and was reminded of that model of learning with four stages which goes:

    Unconscious Ignorance
    Concious Ignorance
    Concious Knowledge
    Unconscious knowledge

    I can’t recall where it comes from, but I’m sure most of us spend most of our time in the first of these stages, until we really engage with what’s going on around us and have the energy to encounter something new.

    With the driving, I think I’ve just moved into Concious Ignorance

    I think when we apply this to the whole of life (which is awesome in magnitude) the wisest position is Concious Ignorance. Recognising how little we know… 😉

Comments are closed.