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Dunning-Kruger Effect

Egocentric BiasIllusion of Explanatory Depth
Dunning-Kruger Effect


The phenomenon that unskilled people assess their ability at a task to be much higher than it is, and that highly skilled individuals often underestimate their own abilities.


First described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999. The bias results from "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others (source)."

Everyday Use

This concept is typically invoked as a depressing feature about workplace colleagues — but a more charitable perspective would tell us that it's a reminder that it's very hard to know what to be good at, how we are doing on those fronts, and how others fare in comparison, all things being equal.