Study says humans ‘too ignorant’ to know they’re incompetent

A ground-breaking new study has found that many humans are not as smart as they would have the world believe as they blatantly adopt theories and beliefs that are wrong and rate themselves as ‘high-achievers’ when they are incompetent.

Psychology Professor David Dunning from the University of Michigan said humans have blind spots that lead to them believe they are smarter about issues they know nothing about.

Professor Dunning, along with his colleague Justin Kruger conducted a study which found that people who are least competent at a task often incorrectly rate themselves as ‘high-performers’ because they are too ignorant to know otherwise.

The professors have called their claim the Dunning-Kruger effect.

A simple explanation of the effect is: the less ability humans have at a particular task, the more likely they are to think they are better because they don’t know enough to accurately assess their ability.

In an interview with VOX, Dunning said the first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is that you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.

Dunning said people don’t know how ignorant they are.

Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition. The problem with it is we see it in other people, but we don’t see it in ourselves.

Dunning said there is another psychological principle – naive realism – that people should know more about.

It means that even though your belief about the way the world behaves seems so compelling or so self-evident, it doesn’t mean it is right.

In fact, a lot of what we see and conclude about the world is authored by our brains. Once you keep that in mind, hopefully, it does give you pause, to think about how you might be wrong, or to think about how another person might have a case. And you might want to hear them out, Dunning said.

He also spoke about intellectual humility, which is the insight and understanding to admit that you are ignorant about an issue. An example of this principle is the famed blue-black/gold-white dress on the internet, where some people saw blue and black, while others saw gold and white.