Thursday, 26 April 2018

Dunning-Kruger Effect

We all know of people with an expanded view of their own importance, intelligence and abilities. They boast of what they can achieve and how easily they will accomplish said tasks. However, reality is generally not kind and they end up blaming an excruciating sequence of events, of course outside their control, which conspires to thwart their endeavours at every turn. They appear blissfully unaware of their innate stupidity and have no insight into how dense they really are. Indeed, their ignorance is a type of bliss that only a truly stupid person can endure. Typically, they overemphasise their 'intelligence' and are happy to tell all how smart they actually are. But as we know, smart folk don't have to tell anyone; their actions do that for them. Prudent folk have an appreciation of their limitations and act to redress those shortcomings or at least mitigate their impact.

Collectively, dumb people have a habit of believing in fantastic and grandiose schemes and concepts. They are easily drawn to conspiracy theories and alternative, so-called, therapies. They are willing to accept quite ridiculous propositions on the most flimsy of evidence or no rational evidence at all. 

This effect is known as the 'Dunning Kruger Effect' and is named after the two researchers who published a seminal study on the phenomenon back in 2005. Below is a graph illustrating how stupid people perceive themselves in comparison to competent individuals. Who would have thought that folk with low ability would fail to recognise their own ineptitude?      

A good example of this type of individual is the sub-group of contestants performing in the myriad of talent shows which besmirch and bespeckle our televisual programming on a Saturday evening. They caterwaul and prance clumsily on the stage watched by millions. They are oblivious to their obvious lack of talent. Tis excruciating on the senses and grates our very being into a thick frothy broth. Yet it is strangely compelling to watch. With the inevitable 'nil point' they appear genuinely aggrieved that the panel has failed to notice their singing prowess and strut off stage in bemused and surprised chagrin. They vocally avow their return next year when the experts will rue over today's lost opportunity to lavish a lucrative music contract upon their well-disposed bonces......    

Another, rather ridiculous example concerns the bank robber, MacArthur Wheeler, who squirted lemon juice on his face in the misguided assumption that it would render his features invisible to the bank's security cameras. He knew that lemon juice could be used as invisible ink and extrapolated from this principle. Sadly for MacArthur, his cunning ruse failed and he is currently incarcerated (no shit). This, of course, represents an extreme example. Not all stupid people are this dim.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)


  1. Re your last: equally bad, if not worse -

    1. I was aware of these bozzos and was thinking of incorporating their example, but 'lemon juice' man was too good a story.

  2. Actually the idea was sound..think soldiers.. the execution of said idea was abysmal... regards Robbo

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