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" L 'Dunning-Kruger effect or overconfidence effect is a cognitive bias whereby those who are least qualified in a field overestimate their compétence ," according to Wikipedia. So no one can claim to know what they don't know. But unfortunately, each of us is a victim of this phenomenon of overestimating our true knowledge. This cognitive bias could explain Peter's principle according to which everyone reaches their own level of incompetence in an organization.


Dunning-Kruger effect

"The Dunning-Kruger effect was demonstrated through a series of experiments led by American psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. Their results were published in December 1999 in the journal Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Dunning and Kruger attribute this bias to a metacognitive difficulty of unskilled people that prevents them from accurately recognizing their incompetence and assessing their true abilities. This study also suggests corollary effects: the most qualified people would tend to underestimate their level of competence and wrongly think that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for autres ", as stated in Wikipedia.

The impact of the Dunning-Kruger effect phenomenon

The Dunning-Kruger effect is having a strong impact on society as a whole. On the Web, for example, there is a surge of experts/bloggers in virtually every field. Unfortunately, real experts are much rarer.

The Internet has opened the door to the expression of this phenomenon. As a result, there is an abundance of blogs and superficial articles, the authors of which are clearly not in control of their content. Since everyone can be an author and cannot know what they don't know, the result is a dilution of information content and a loss of depth. The whole thing pollutes the web with unverified, partial, often false or misleading content.

This effect is deeply rooted in every human being and completely distorts our understanding of reality. No one is immune. It is ignorance that wins. Not pushing our knowledge too far allows us to feel good, to be in control, whereas if we go beyond the " mont of the stupidité " as some call it, we can discover with amazement the extent of our ignorance, an uncomfortable position for any normal person.

New graduates must also realize the extent of this phenomenon. Although they have a lot of new knowledge, their lack of experience makes them unable to measure the real knowledge they possess. With diplomas in their pockets, they don't realize the extent of the gulf that separates them from the expertise so coveted by employers.

10 000 hours to become an expert

Several authors acknowledge that it takes about 10 000 hours to become an expert in one's art or science. That's about 5 years of full-time experience. At this level of experience, you have a good command of your art, you know your limits and you are able to identify what you don't know or what you don't know.

Peter's principle explained...

From the Dunning-Kruger effect to Peter's Principle, it is only a step. Peter's principle says that: " Dans a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level at incompétence , according to Wikipedia. The theory was developed by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their book The Peter Principle, published in 1970.

Why does an employee apply for jobs that require skills that they don't have? Dunning-Kruger's overconfidence effect sheds new light on our partial understanding of our own competence. Faced with challenges we don't really know the magnitude of, by overconfidence we take one step too far towards a position with responsibilities that are beyond us...

How to counter the effect of overconfidence?

We all have the Dunning-Kruger effect. We must therefore all pay attention to the fact that our knowledge is still limited. So what we do not know can have great surprises in store for us.

Today, information is ubiquitous and easily accessible. So don't turn down an opportunity to improve your knowledge and thus reduce your ignorance. This will maximize the Dunning-Kruger effect to the benefit of you and those around you.

Source: Wikipedia