Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We're all experts!

Ever heard of the Dunning Kruger Effect (DKE)?

DKE is simply said:

Novices overestimate their performance,
Experts underestimate their performance.

According to nobel prize winners Dunning & Kruger (1999), people tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities and performance.

This overestimation mainly occurs when people are unskilled (novices: +500% overestimation !).

Novices (unskilled) have a dual burden:
  • They reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices
  • Their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize this

This also explains why self-assessments often fail. In general people are thinking they're really doing a great job.

According to KrajĨ & Ortmann (2007), the bad judgements (metacognity inability) that leads to flawed self-assessments, could be better explained as 'unbiased judgements based on biased information'.

Highly skilled people, the experts, suffer from the opposite. They tend to underestimate (10%) their performance.

However it's been proved that feedback, training and making people conscious of DKE, reduces the effect.

Just look around, DKE is omni-present:
  • We're all sports experts (soccer, golf, darts)
  • We all know how to raise kids
  • Most employees have a 'common sense' opinion about marketing, branding, HR
  • We're all employee and family coaches
  • We all understand the risks of war, nuclear power, skiing

So teach and be aware of what you really know, develop (your skills) in what you would want to know, get help an get sight on what you'll never know, be open to feedback and don't forget to enjoy life in the meantime.

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