Dunning-Kruger Effect

Journal Club Article: Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessmentsJournal of personality and social psychology77(6), 1121.

Dunning-Kruger effect

“In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence” (Wikipedia, 2017).

  • Over confidence and low self-awareness.
  • Compentency vs incompetence.
  • Doubt and low confidence.

“Incompetent individuals have more difficulty recognizing their true level of ability than do more competent individuals and that a lack of metacognitive skills may underlie this deficiency” (Kruger & Dunning, 1999.pg. 31).

Dunning-Kruger Study

Aims

Explored their predictions between competence, metacognitive ability, and inflated self-assessment.

Predictions

Participants would overestimate their ability and performance.

Method

  • 4 studies.
    • Humour: 30 item questionnaiare
    • Logical Reasoning: 20 item logical reasoning test
    • Grammar and Awareness
    • Competence: Group study tests.
  • Psychology undergraduates (earned credit for participation in the study).
  • Participants asked to assess their ability and test performance.

Results

The participants with limited knowledge reach mistaken conclusions and make errors, this is coupled with an inability to recognise these limitations.

Limitations of the Study

Small numbers of participants.  Not across a variety of professions, also undergraduate setting.

The authors recognise the limits of the testing method, and subsequently could a fault lie in the logic or methodology of the testing and thus provided incorrect results.

Relevance in Healthcare

Take a read and listen to this by PHARM: Prehospital and Retrieval Medicine (2017) and the great discussion points about the difficulty of competency in rare event situations. The considerations in education when discussing skills or best practice, not everyone is working in a big city hospital with support teams, technology and resources. Healthcare is delivered across the world in varied resource settings by individuals or teams and so it’s very easy to become judgmental when looking at care- it all goes way deeper into the wider healthcare landscape than just looking at the individuals metacognitive ability.

Keywords: Cognitive; feedback; metacognitive competence; skilled; unskilled; training; education.

References

Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessmentsJournal of personality and social psychology77(6), 1121.

Nursing Education Network (2016) Johari Window and Feedback.

PHARM: Prehospital and Retrieval Medicine (2017) Needle vs knife the view from the bottom of Mount Stunning Trueger.

Staub, S., & Kaynak, R. (2014). Is an Unskilled Really Unaware of it?Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences150, 899-907.

Wikipedia (2017) Dunning-Kruger effect.

 

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