Mount Stupid and the Valley of Despair.

A Perspective on Knowledge and Ignorance

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (Charles Darwin)

“The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing” Sacrates

“Ignorance is truth not realized” Me

A Little Knowledge Can Lead to Overconfidence 

Sometimes a tiny bit of knowledge on a subject can lead people to mistakenly believe that they know all there is to know about it. As the old saying goes, 

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: (

•       The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. 

•       Essentially, people with lower ability do not possess the cognitive skills needed to recognize their own incompetence. 

•       The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability leads them to overestimate their own capabilities. 

Research by Dunning and Kruger suggests:

Students were tested on grammar, humor, and logic.  They were asked 2 questions after taking a test: 

•       From 1-100, What are their perceived abilities compared to their peers?

•       From 1-100, What are their perceived test scores compared to their peers?

They compared these perceptions to actual results.

•       People who scored in the lowest percentiles (1-25%) tended to dramatically overestimate how well they had performed.

•       Their actual test scores placed them in the 12th percentile (ave), but they estimated that their performance placed them in the 62nd percentile.

•       Another study of Lawyers revealed than when asked if they believe they are in the top 5% of people in their field, 42% replied that they believe they are.

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