Quantcast

Unskilled and Unaware: Why Stupid People Don't Know How Incompetent They Really Are.

seathanaich 2011/02/23 21:43:13
Related Topics: Family, Humor, Finance
That's interesting. I didn't know that.
I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
I already knew that, and it's why I'm so patient with stupid people.
I am in the 62nd Percentile in everything . . .
Other
You!
Add Photos & Videos
Have you ever wondered why many people can't think logically, even when you explain things in simple and clear language? This will help explain it:

* * * * * * *


Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments: Unskilled and Unaware


Overconfidence in Self-Assessment


By Austin Cline, About.com Guide



Being mistaken about something is not a flaw in a person’s reasoning and neither is being unskilled in constructing or analyzing logical arguments. Where a flaw does occur, however, is in the fact that the worse a person is at such tasks, the less likely they are to realize it, the more likely they are to overestimate their abilities, and the less likely they are to realize that others’ efforts are superior.


We don’t need to speculate that such a connection might exist or rely upon anecdotal experiences we ourselves have had - Justin Kruger and David Dunning at Cornell University demonstrated it in psychological studies and published their findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in an article entitled “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”



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 abilities.



The more incompetent a person is at a given skill, the less likely they are to realize it because they also lack the metacognitive skills necessary to evaluate their performance. The authors liken this to the neurological condition known as anosognosia. The result of damage to the right side of the brain, sufferers of anosognosia are not only paralyzed on the left side of the body, but they are also unable to realize that they are paralyzed.


When asked to pick up something with their left hand, they fail to do so and offer weak rationalizations for this failure - like not hearing the instruction or simply being too tired. These patients are not lying to researchers; instead, they lack the ability to understand what plain and obvious evidence should tell them: they can’t move their left hand or arm. If this is possible with physical situations, perhaps it also happens with purely psychological situations as well - and thus perhaps incompetence causes not only poor performance but also an inability to recognize that the performance is poor.


The same studies showing that unskilled people are more likely to be unaware of how lack of good performance also reveal that intensive training in a skill not only raised performance, but also improved participants’ ability to rate their earlier performance before the training. People began to perform better and understood that what they did before was bad. The only way to know how well you are doing a task is to also have a good idea of how to do the task well. If you don’t understand how to do a task well then you also necessarily lack an ability to realize that you can’t do it well - or to realize when others are doing it better. Quoting again from the study:



For example, consider the ability to write grammatical English. The skills that enable one to construct a grammatical sentence are the same skills necessary to recognize a grammatical sentence, and thus are the same skills necessary to determine if a grammatical mistake has been made. In short, the same knowledge that underlies the ability to produce correct judgment is also the knowledge that underlies the ability to recognize correct judgment. To lack the former is to be deficient in the latter.



The same can be said about the other skills tested for: humor and logical reasoning. We’ve all had experiences with people who think that they are “above average” - so many regard themselves as above average that it defies descriptive statistics. Too many consider themselves superior to their peers at tasks like driving, working out finances, telling jokes, and socializing.


Those who are superior, on the other hand, tend to rate themselves as only average. They fall victim to the “false-consensus effect,” assuming that their good performance is matched by everyone else. It’s not that they don’t realize they do well, but they fail to realize that everyone else isn’t doing as well. This only changes once they become aware of the problems others have.


Ignorance and incompetence should drive people to become more knowledgeable, but actually they drive people to become overconfident, secure in the belief that they don’t need to be more knowledgeable. Ignorance really is bliss, except for those who are faced with the task of trying to explain to a person that their arguments aren’t so good after all.


As the above study shows, simply telling them this isn’t sufficient. They don’t know enough to comprehend your analysis and critique. Instead, you have to educate them in order to help them become competent - then, maybe, they will come to understand why their arguments are flawed or invalid.


One of the reasons people seem to develop this overconfidence is the lack of negative feedback. If you provide not simply that feedback, but constructive criticisms which help them learn how to do the relevant tasks well rather than poorly, then you might accomplish a great deal.

Read More: http://atheism.about.com/od/logicalflawsinreasonin...

Add a comment above

Top Opinion

  • mana kai 2011/03/25 20:59:29
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    mana kai
    +3
    This explains why so many bosses or managers are incompetent. Not being able to tolerate constructive criticism from employees, they become overconfident in their abilities and unaware of their performance.

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • Just MEH....Piwan 2011/11/24 17:22:33
    Other
    Just MEH....Piwan
    I gotta work for someone like that, and no matter how much it is explained to them about their behavior, they just don't seem to get it....FRUSTRATING!!!
  • Earthly Resident 2011/11/24 03:58:13
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    Earthly Resident
    tell me about it, and we still call ourselves superior.........HA!!!!
  • ETpro 2011/11/24 01:31:10
    Other
    ETpro
    I like to point to the competence scale. It runs, in order, as follows::
    1 -- Unconscious competence
    2 -- Conscious competence
    3 -- Conscious incompetence
    4 -- Unconscious incompetence

    The level you are identifying is number 4, unconscious incompetence. At that level, your competence stinks, but you are so clueless about it you can't smell it. Only those that somehow rise to level 3 can even recognize that they stink, and start to do something about it. If they set to work washing off the smell of incompetence, that may get them to conscious competence. And if they stay at that and continue to work and learn long enough, they reach unconscious competence; where they are so competent at the things they do that they don't even have to think about doing them, they just act. The best NFL quarterbacks are able to operate at the unconscious competence level.
  • seathan... ETpro 2011/11/24 21:04:25
    seathanaich
    That scale sums it up well - thank you for providing it.
  • BloodMist 2011/11/23 23:05:00 (edited)
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    BloodMist
    Stupid people will be the downfall of the human race.What really strikes me as odd is that over the years the amount of true idiots, especially in certain nations, seems to get larger and larger.
  • Redskin 2011/11/23 23:04:56
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    Redskin
  • mana kai 2011/03/25 20:59:29
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    mana kai
    +3
    This explains why so many bosses or managers are incompetent. Not being able to tolerate constructive criticism from employees, they become overconfident in their abilities and unaware of their performance.
  • Tired BN-0 2011/02/25 20:55:33
    Other
    Tired BN-0
    +1
    It is an interesting piece you present. While I am inclined to agree in the likelihood of this, I would like to see the published results of the studies the authors reference. Data can be just as misleading, if not moreso, than well crafted opinions if the actual statistics are not shown. What journal published these studies?
  • seathan... Tired BN-0 2011/02/25 21:04:02
    seathanaich
    +1
    "I would like to see the published results"

    If you go to the original on Austin Cline's site, you'll be able to click to the original data. Cheers.
  • Tired BN-0 seathan... 2011/02/25 21:20:29 (edited)
    Tired BN-0
    +1
    Thanks! I did as you recommended, although I do not have the time right now to follow this up. However, the fact that the supporting article was published in a peer-reviewed journal makes me more confident in the validity of the author's conclusions.
  • seathan... Tired BN-0 2011/02/25 21:31:49
    seathanaich
    +1
    I think that Austin Cline's site, and newsletter, are very worthwhile to read and subscribe to. I learned most of what I now know about logic fallacies and debating from his site and articles. Such things apply across far more topics than just atheism (which is what his site is about), and an open-minded religious person could benefit from his site as much as I have. Cheers, and good hunting.
  • Tired BN-0 seathan... 2011/02/25 21:33:20
    Tired BN-0
    +1
    Thank you, and to you as well!
  • La 2011/02/24 00:39:32 (edited)
    That's interesting. I didn't know that.
    La
    I am a fount of constructive criticism. Makes you think though. What if I'm so stupid that I can't even identify my own stupidity? But then I remember that I have a distinct ability to identify persons more intelligent than myself, as well as less...and if I got into Law, I can't be that stupid.
  • seathan... La 2011/02/24 03:35:33
    seathanaich
    +3
    "What if I'm so stupid that I can't even identify my own stupidity?"

    The fact that you consider that indicates that you are not in that category. Cheers.
  • wtxwoman 2011/02/23 22:54:46 (edited)
    I already knew that, and it's why I'm so patient with stupid people.
    wtxwoman
    +2
    That's why my ex is still breathing. I know he is really not to blame for being so goard-headed. I think his brother smaked him up side the head too much as a child!

    I remember my older brother telling me once, after I had asked him a technical question about his work, that it would take too long for him to educate me to a level of understanding for him to answer me and he didn't have the time. He was right, too. I have run across that problem many times in my life since then.
  • seathan... wtxwoman 2011/02/24 00:25:15
    seathanaich
    +2
    "that it would take too long for him to educate me to a level of understanding for him to answer me and he didn't have the time. He was right, too."

    Great point. Too many of us get "offended" and our ego is hurt by that sort of thing, but it's so often true. Look at all the people on this site who offer "opinions" on stuff they are completely unqualified to comment on. What's so hard about saying "I don't know"? And why is it that the stupidest people, who know the least, are the ones who say "I don't know" the least? Cheers.
  • wtxwoman seathan... 2011/11/23 23:20:19
    wtxwoman
    It is usually men rather than women who have a hard time admitting ignorance of a particular subject. They seem to think that it is 'unmanly' to not know something. It causes problems in the work place.
  • DFM302 2011/02/23 21:48:26
    Other
    DFM302
    Arrogant and Pompous: Why certain people think that because they say it, it's automatically logical, simple, and clear would be a poll question more suited for you.
  • seathan... DFM302 2011/02/23 22:05:25 (edited)
    seathanaich
    +3
    Thank you for demonstrating perfectly what this particular study found - that the incompetent not only do not recognise their own incompetence, they have no ability to compare themselves with those who are better than they are - so they therefore often exhibit anti-intellectual platitudes. Don't worry, I wasn't expecting the stupid or the incompetent to read the entire article (though bigger font would have helped), let alone understand what it was saying. Here's a Scooby Snack though, for being a good dog:

    expecting stupid imcompetent read article understand scooby snack dog scooby snack
  • DFM302 seathan... 2011/02/23 22:11:10
    DFM302
    Thank you for proving that arrogant and pompous people such as yourself think that all they have to do is say something and if their simple mind thinks it's logical, everyone else should think so. It's the arrogant, pompous, jackasses that believe they are always right and everyone else is wrong.
  • seathan... DFM302 2011/02/24 00:26:38 (edited)
    seathanaich
    +3
    I think West Texas Woman's reply below is more perceptive than any reply I can make.

    Being knowledgable isn't the same as being pompous. But then, you'd have to not be stupid to know the difference between the two.
  • wtxwoman seathan... 2011/02/23 22:53:12
    wtxwoman
    +5
    I find it interesting that this guy immediately went on the defensive and thought you were talking about him. LOL
  • seathan... wtxwoman 2011/02/24 00:29:43
    seathanaich
    +4
    Exactly. He thinks it's a personal attack. That kind of proves the point that the article makes - that the stupid are not only stupid, they are ruled by ego and emotion rather than what little intelligence they possess. It's sad how they think that anyone who knows something must therefore be "pompous". But then, not knowing what words mean is part of the problem. Cheers.
  • seathanaich 2011/02/23 21:44:34
    I already knew that, and it frustrates me.
    seathanaich
    +2
    I love the way that people in the 12th percentile - ie those who are bloody useless - rate themselves as above average.
  • themadhare ~IJM 2011/02/23 21:44:08
    Other
    themadhare ~IJM
    supply and demand?

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

Living

2014/10/23 06:57:08

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals