Unskilled and Unaware of It

A commentor pointed me to this fantastic article in
Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology
and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
. Here’s the

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in
many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this
overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in
these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach
erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their
incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.
Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in
the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly
overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their
test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated
themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this
miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity
to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the
skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive
competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their

Green Hat Journal: Blissfully Ignorant
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