Dunning-Kruger Cognitive Bias

As we first addressed in our posting Standing In Midair, cognitive bias is a limitation in our ability to think objectively.  When you see a person materially overestimate their ability, the Dunning-Kruger Cognitive Bias is quite likely the cause.  Somewhat surprisingly, this cognitive bias is also the likely cause when a person materially underestimates their ability.  Social Psychologists, David Dunning, and Justin Kruger identified the illusion of superiority as a cognitive bias in their study “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments” (1999).


This first version of this bias results in a twofold effect.  A person who is incompetent at something fails to see their incompetence.  Then the person more often than not mistakenly believes they actually are competent, thus significantly overestimating their competence.

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