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Thread: Dunning-Kruger Effect, does it affect you?

  1. #1 Dunning-Kruger Effect, does it affect you? 
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    For those unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger Effect pertains to the proclivity of the intelligent to underestimate their abilities, and conversely, the comparatively ignorant to overestimate theirs. (Insert the myriad of Bertrand Russell quotes here). My question is: How many of you feel that you are on the first spectrum? Personally, I have differentiating feelings on the matter. I will doubt my abilities, then assure myself that I am more capable than most, then subsequently believe that I am merely being overconfident and ignorant. The circle continues in that manner for a few hours/days/weeks until restarting.


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    For those unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger Effect pertains to the proclivity of the intelligent to underestimate their abilities
    As I understand it from my reading, that's not, strictly speaking, the case.
    They underestimate their abilities relative to other people's.
    That is, given a task they don't assume that they can't can't do it, but they DO assume that their abilities are matched by others and that others will have equal, or better, capabilities.
    To my mind there's a crucial difference between those two forms of "underestimation".

    Or, to put it another way, they overestimate everyone else's capabilities.
    Which puts them in accordance with the dummies i.e. they tend to assume that they (the dummies) too are smarter than they actually are (until, of course, reality proves that it was an misapprehension).

    To answer your question: it depends entirely on the subject.
    It's not been unknown for the following exchange change to take place on a number of occasions:
    Instructor/ Tutor/ Expert: And, working this out we'll see that the result is...
    Unnamed Person 1: Your answer is wrong.
    Instructor/ etc.: What? I can't see any errors. How do you know it's wrong?
    UP: Easy. Because I have a different figure.

    1 Name withheld to protect the guilty.


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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    For those unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger Effect pertains to the proclivity of the intelligent to underestimate their abilities
    As I understand it from my reading, that's not, strictly speaking, the case.
    They underestimate their abilities relative to other people's.
    That is, given a task they don't assume that they can't can't do it, but they DO assume that their abilities are matched by others and that others will have equal, or better, capabilities.
    To my mind there's a crucial difference between those two forms of "underestimation".

    Or, to put it another way, they overestimate everyone else's capabilities.
    Which puts them in accordance with the dummies i.e. they tend to assume that they (the dummies) too are smarter than they actually are (until, of course, reality proves that it was an misapprehension).

    To answer your question: it depends entirely on the subject.
    It's not been unknown for the following exchange change to take place on a number of occasions:
    Instructor/ Tutor/ Expert: And, working this out we'll see that the result is...
    Unnamed Person 1: Your answer is wrong.
    Instructor/ etc.: What? I can't see any errors. How do you know it's wrong?
    UP: Easy. Because I have a different figure.

    1 Name withheld to protect the guilty.
    Thank you for the clarification, it's been some time since I read a book on psychology, and have misconstrued the definition over the course of time. :P
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Dunning-Kruger Effect, does it affect you?
    Of course not!

    Actually, I suffer quite badly from the opposite effect: Impostor syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  6. #5  
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    Dunning-Kruger Effect, does it affect you?
    It has in the past. In several endeavors (learning to fly, learning to skydive, computer engineering) I got to a point where I thought "this is pretty easy! The basics are easy and everything seems simple." It's not until you learn more that you realize how little you know.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Perhaps as a function of gender (female) being raised in a largely male-dominated society, for the first half of my life I not so much underestimated my ability as took unusual avenues to demonstrate my abilities (participating in the world's most challenging sled dog race, volunteer structural fire-fighter, second year glazier).

    I am completely aware that there are many people with talents far greater than mine but I have reason to believe that I am in the upper percentile of the population when it comes to reliability, tenacity and endurance.

    I'm not saying that I am terribly smart but the record does show that I am tougher than bloody rawhide, lol... Recently, I have started to rest on my laurels until those young ones either toughen up or wise up.
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    I try to live up to my nom de plume. A true skeptic has a belief system based on empirical, objective, and credible evidence. On that basis, my estimation of my own abilities should be based on actual measurements. I have, luckily, been through a full day of aptitude testing, which gives me numbers to put to my abilities and my lack of abilities.

    The point, really, is that personal and subjective opinion is worthless. If you want to know, get yourself tested.
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  9. #8  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I'd like to think that I have a fairly accurate guestimate of my abilities. Whenever I tread into unsure territory, I usually say as much. I find it puzzling when people have no concept that other people might discover that they are talking utter bollocks.

    A converse of this is that, since I am the only person I know who gives more than two poops about science and critical thinking, people often think I am thumbsucking, being a know-it-all or being a contrarian when I dismiss something they have said. They can't imagine that I might have some real basic understanding of the subject at hand.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    You know, strangely, out of all the dozens of tests I went through, they did not test me for sanity.

    Was that an oversight?

    It leaves me unable to tell you from objective and empirical test results how sane I am. Watch out!
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    The parameters for 'sanity' strike me as being the ultimate in subjectivity.

    There is some speculation that each brain may be unique in it's style of assimilating and processing information.

    Should this be empirically demonstrated, how then would we define the benchmark for 'sanity'?

    Perhaps instead of being 'bat-shit crazy', some people are actually 'bat-shit brilliant'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    The parameters for 'sanity' strike me as being the ultimate in subjectivity.

    There is some speculation that each brain may be unique in it's style of assimilating and processing information.

    Should this be empirically demonstrated, how then would we define the benchmark for 'sanity'?

    Perhaps instead of being 'bat-shit crazy', some people are actually 'bat-shit brilliant'.
    The "in term" down here is actually "bad shit". joc
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    The parameters for 'sanity' strike me as being the ultimate in subjectivity.
    Have you ever met anyone who is clinically insane?

    I think many people think of "he's insane" as a way to describe someone who thinks differently; more of a funny way to describe someone who is sane but just different. I think of it as someone who cannot think rationally - cannot understand cause and effect, cannot differentiate between reality and fiction, cannot tell right from wrong. I've met a few of these people, and suspect that you would not have trouble telling them from sane people.

    There is some speculation that each brain may be unique in it's style of assimilating and processing information. Should this be empirically demonstrated, how then would we define the benchmark for 'sanity'?
    Well, as an example, not eating your own feces or own pants (unfortunately knew people who would do such things) would be a good starting point . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Have you ever met anyone who is clinically insane?
    I will answer after you kindly define "clinically insane" for me, please? I'm sure I have, at least several, perhaps many.

    The portrayal of Victoria Cunningham by Olivia DeHavilland in the movie "The Snake Pit" was likely the most moving example I might imagine of clinical insanity exacerbated by surrounding circumstances. The scene in which she is being evaluated for release from the sanitarium, while a rainstorm is progressing outside the window, making it rattle incessantly, as she attempts to answer her questioners, proved so moving to me that my hackles rise even now. This was a movie from the '40s, I highly recommend it to those who have not seen it. jocular
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    The parameters for 'sanity' strike me as being the ultimate in subjectivity.
    Have you ever met anyone who is clinically insane?

    I think many people think of "he's insane" as a way to describe someone who thinks differently; more of a funny way to describe someone who is sane but just different. I think of it as someone who cannot think rationally - cannot understand cause and effect, cannot differentiate between reality and fiction, cannot tell right from wrong. I've met a few of these people, and suspect that you would not have trouble telling them from sane people.

    There is some speculation that each brain may be unique in it's style of assimilating and processing information. Should this be empirically demonstrated, how then would we define the benchmark for 'sanity'?
    Well, as an example, not eating your own feces or own pants (unfortunately knew people who would do such things) would be a good starting point . . .
    There are several rare 'eating disorders' that otherwise 'normal' people exhibit, Pica being one such.

    The boy who is eating his bedroom: Rare condition of Zach, 5, who can't tell the difference between food and inedible objects | Mail Online
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  17. #16  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    For those unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger Effect pertains to the proclivity of the intelligent to underestimate their abilities, and conversely, the comparatively ignorant to overestimate theirs. (Insert the myriad of Bertrand Russell quotes here). My question is: How many of you feel that you are on the first spectrum? Personally, I have differentiating feelings on the matter. I will doubt my abilities, then assure myself that I am more capable than most, then subsequently believe that I am merely being overconfident and ignorant. The circle continues in that manner for a few hours/days/weeks until restarting.
    Shlunka, I think for me it is in what it pertains to. Performing, even though I know I do my best, I never ever feel (ok maybe a couple of times, like last week) that I nailed it 98%. I find myself Extremely critical of my work, and my directors tell me I am MY worse critic. Pretty much anything in theatre arts, for me, (though my dancing skills since my car accident are diminished) are a comfort zone, and I have a lot of knowledge in it, but I could never say I was an expert, because I have never stopped trying to improve what I do through continuing education and pushing myself to those throes of perfection I wish to attain in my creative endeavors. One never stops learning from your peers, either.

    I have no problem saying there are many subjects I am slightly knowledgeable in but as to projecting my intelligence in them would be rather fruitless. I listen and ask (albeit sometimes stupid) question.

    So for me neither would really apply.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    I will answer after you kindly define "clinically insane" for me, please?
    A decision by a doctor or medical body that someone is too altered to be released; typically made after a 24 or 48 hour hold for suspected psychosis. (Note that this is different from legally insane, which is a valid defense against an indictment for some crimes, and often leads to loss of legal freedoms.)
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  19. #18  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    [Have you ever met anyone who is clinically insane?
    Yes. Worryingly, he was undiagnosed(*) and in charge of the radioisotopes lab...

    (*) So maybe not by your definition but he was definitely delusional and paranoid. At least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    The parameters for 'sanity' strike me as being the ultimate in subjectivity.
    Have you ever met anyone who is clinically insane?

    I think many people think of "he's insane" as a way to describe someone who thinks differently; more of a funny way to describe someone who is sane but just different. I think of it as someone who cannot think rationally - cannot understand cause and effect, cannot differentiate between reality and fiction, cannot tell right from wrong. I've met a few of these people, and suspect that you would not have trouble telling them from sane people.
    My one cousin (not by blood) has been in and out of insane asylums (the outs being due to having escaped) ever since his early twenties, so I'd hazard a guess that he is suffering from schizophrenia. He once approached me at the store (after having escaped again) and proceeded to tell me about his revolutionary theory about cold fusion and how the government is trying to silence him etc. I am always somewhat dismayed by the frequency of posters here who exhibit the same level of delusion.
    Last edited by KALSTER; August 16th, 2013 at 12:23 PM.
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