The Dunning-Kruger effect, according to Wikipedia, is best described by the first two paragraphs and paraphrased in context as follows:
The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where people of low ability people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is and do not recognize their low-ability. Low ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.
High ability people may incorrectly assume that tasks easy for them to do are also easy for other people to do, or that other people will have similar understanding of subjects that they themselves are experienced in.
Why is this relevant?
Assessing our own abilities or the abilities of others will directly influence our own ability to learn or teach. Regardless of whether we are teaching or learning, we must first have the ability to recognize that a gap exists.
How many times have you encountered someone who thinks they have all the answers? Where a knowledge or skill gap exists, a person with this mind set is likely not going to be very teachable. How engaged will this person be when they think they know all there is to know?
On the other hand, it is as important for the person teaching or speaking to know their audience. Assuming a certain level of prerequisite knowledge or a given skill set may impede your ability to teach those who are there to learn.
Exposing the Gap
Recognizing the Dunning-Kruger effect gives cause to reflect on the four stages of competence:
- Unconscious incompetence – unaware, lacks knowledge or skill
- Conscious incompetence – aware, lacks knowledge or skill
- Conscious competence – aware, has knowledge or skill with conscious effort
- Unconscious competence – aware, knowledge or skill is second nature / autonomous
People and organizations are generally not open to criticism, constructive or otherwise. In this regard, assessing an individual or organization can be quite challenging. Asking questions that emphasize and expose potential gaps and deficits where a clear and defined value can be found is sure to raise awareness and peak the interest of most.
A Final Thought
As cited from 8 Unexpected Signs You’re Smarter Than Average (# 8),
A study of nearly 10,000 Americans found that natural blonds actually have IQs slightly higher than their darker haired compatriots.
Perception is a matter of perspective. As a natural blonde, the above was encouraging until I read, “The difference was too small to be statistically significant.”
Until Next Time – STAY Lean!
Related Articles and Resources
8 Unexpected Signs You’re Smarter Than Average – Jessica Stillman (Contributor Inc.com)