The psychology of rejection: 3

B. The Dunning–Kruger effect
We have always known the adage “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Well, according to a highly credible scientific paper published by David Dunning and Justin Kruger (Cornell University) conclude that people tend to hold overly favourable 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 humour, 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 the participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
I can’t help but to attribute the ‘belief’ or ‘disbelief’ of climate change science by many sceptics to this effect. I have on numerous occasions been confronted by people who say to me “I don’t believe in climate change”, and when I ask them how they came to this ‘belief’, and whether they have special expertise in the field of climate change science, they admit that they are not experts, and generally can’t explain where the basis of their conviction comes from.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The psychology of rejection: 3

  1. Pingback: The psychology of rejection 2 | Arek Sinanian

  2. Pingback: The psychology of rejection 1 | Arek Sinanian

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