By Jamie Busby - Staff Author
"In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is." - Wikipedia
In layman's terms, this is basically what happens when someone has too much self-confidence relative to their brain power, knowledge or talent. Or to put it even more bluntly, it applies to those who are extraordinarily stupid compared to their over-inflated view of themselves.
It's an often quite amusing "affliction" and I'm sure we all know at least one person like this. If you don't, then does that mean you're affected? I have no idea, I might be a classic example myself. Obviously, I'm just being humble and modest now...
And that's how it works, ignorance is bliss and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,etc... Those affected never know. But please don't let that make you feel paranoid, just like I am all of a sudden, even though I'm arguably the greatest writer of my generation...
We can't discuss the Dunning-Kruger effect without mentioning it's opposite, "Imposter Syndrome". This is the alternative psychological issue whereby people will underestimate themselves in relation to others. However brilliant they are, they have a persistent worm of doubt that manifests as a huge fear that they're actually clueless and they will at some point be exposed as a fraud. I'm sure we all know someone affected by this also and it's terribly sad to be so insecure. But I plod on regardless...
Back to the Dunning-Kruger effect, it originated from a wonderfully hilarious and total failure of a crime. In 1995 in Pittsburgh, USA, a middle-aged man robbed 2 banks in broad daylight, on the same day, without any disguise. He even smiled at the CCTV cameras in and around both banks; either barking mad or supremely confident.
He was obviously very easily recognised and picked up by the Police later that evening, to his utter disbelief. The reason for his shock? "But I wore the juice" he said. When Police asked him what he meant, he told them that he had rubbed lemon juice all over his skin and face. It's the main ingredient in invisible ink and he had deduced that it would make him invisible to the surveillance cameras. THIS IS NOT A JOKE! He even protested that the Police had doctored the surveillance footage they showed him of himself as he couldn't have possibly been wrong with his assumptions about the magic lemon juice....
David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, took notice of this bizarre case and decided to investigate it, enlisting his student Justin Kruger to help. They discovered that some people have such an extreme illusion of confidence in their distinctly piss-poor abilities that it's actually a legit psychological condition. Thus, the Dunning-Kruger effect was born.
So that's the explanation and background out the way, time to look at some real-life examples. Going from the humorous to the downright dangerous.
Britain's got Talent/ X Factor/ American Idol,etc...
*DISCLAIMER - LET THE RECORD SHOW THAT I AM NOT A REGULAR VIEWER BUT HAVE WATCHED OCCASIONALLY AS I KNEW IT WOULD COME IN HANDY ONE DAY...
These programmes are a veritable treasure trove of examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect. How many times have you seen a contestant put themselves in front of the judges, full of confidence. Then they open their mouth to sing... and what comes out sounds like a bag of cats fighting each other inside the bag. Whilst slowly drowning.
Their voices are so bad that you'd be mistaken for thinking they're actually doing it for a joke. But NO... these people are genuinely stunned to their very core when the likes of Simon Cowell tells them "That was the worst audition I'v ever heard". They can't believe it, they are dumbstruck. They truly believe they were just one audition away from worldwide fame.
But they cannot sing and don't realise it. I always wonder why nobody had ever told them in passing that they're shit but with the Dunning-Kruger effect in full effect, I can now see that they cannot be discouraged. Just as mind-boggling is the families of these people backstage, watching on in anticipation of their loved one's big break. They too cannot believe the negative criticism they're hearing. It appears the Dunning-Kruger effect can be "caught" by others.
I have a daughter and she's tried to sing to me. She's decidedly average. I tell her she's got a lovely voice because I'm a great bloke. But she hasn't and I'd have her committed before allowing her on a "talent" show being broadcast on National TV. However, it seems that some are dragged along into the fantasy of the victim. I say "victim", it's clearly not their fault, I consider the viewers as beneficial victims more than these poor delusional souls.
It does make for funny viewing though and most people take an almost sadistic thrill from watching these people make a complete fool of themselves. Human nature I suppose, better them than you. But that's for another time. However, I will link a video of one of my favourites at the end.
Radio and Internet TV presenter of Infowars fame. Nutritional supplement salesman. And of course, possibly the most famous promoter of his own conspiracy theories in the world.
This makes him dangerous; I am what some people call a "Conspiracy Theorist" but anything I investigate or proclaim as truth is based on evidence and proof.
Alex Jones is known to have used the shock value of what he says to build his audience and thus, his revenue. His YouTube channel had over 1.2 BILLION views and 2 Million subscribers up to March 2017, plus he had the Infowars and PrisonPlanet platforms that also drew huge interest from the public; all making him vast amounts of money.
Due to his high profile, this of course ruins the already low legitimacy of genuine conspiracy theorists like myself and many others with a much higher profile. The CIA did a damn good job of making the term "Conspiracy Theory" a derisory insult some years ago. Nutcases in basements dreaming up implausible stories of what REALLY happened with X, Y and Z.
*DISCLAIMER - I DO NOT OPERATE OUT OF A BASEMENT...
Sometimes I wonder if much of what Alex Jones has ever ranted about is just parody, his effort at alternative comedy to gain a foothold in a niche of his own creation. The fact remains that whatever he is, he's managed to be incredibly successful, if that's the correct word. Does this show high intelligence? How about his following comments;
"You see, 666 is a doubling of 33. And 33 is pi." - Is he taking the piss?!?
"I'm like a chimpanzee, in a tree, jumping up and down, warning other chimpanzees when I see a big cat coming through the woods… I'm the weirdo? Because I'm sitting in a tree going OOH OOH OOH AAH AAH AAH..." - Said with regards to waking people up to how the world really works. But is he being serious or facetious?
The big problems arise when he comes out with something along the lines of the following quote;
"Devil worshiping pedophiles basically run the New World Order.... They love death and they love killing babies.
They've got operations so big, grabbin your kids, they CPS 'em right out, Child Protection Services, they're on a jet, to one of — two dozen countries. And they are slaved out. And lotta times when they hit 25 years old, they — y'know, 10,000 men have had sex with 'em, they've had 30, 40 abortions, they've been used up in ways that are so hellish you can't even imagine, [slaps table] they just walk 'em right out, shoot 'em in the back of the head, and throw 'em in a vat of acid. That's how they roll, just massive, MASSIVE murder operations."
Sadly, there is overwhelming evidence that all of what he says in this final quote is true or very close to the mark. The problem lies in him mixing his madness with credible information, how are people supposed to know when he's being serious or just being a prick?
I'm afraid that it may well be impossible to know, I'm not even sure he is. And he's certainly not doing other independent news sources or investigators any favours. Or the people affected by the genuine conspiracies unfolding across the world as we speak. There has been talk he may now even be a Zionist shill, paid off to do what he does. Regardless, I consider him a classic case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
This is going to be short and sweet before our final specimen. He is the first Politician I'v mentioned but most are Dunning-Kruger candidates. The very nature of how they get to the positions they do is evidence of this. Unwavering self-confidence and complete, unyielding devotion to their own beliefs and answers to the world's problems.
Yes, they're all self-serving delusional puppet arseholes.
We shall cover "The Donald" in a simple way via the medium of his wonderful quotes. Whether it be Tweets in the middle of the night or filmed quotes, we have a lot to work with.
So let's dive in with a list of some of his gems;
“No one respects women more than me. No one reads the Bible more than me.”
“There’s nobody more pro-Israel than I am.” (maybe a few grains of truth here...)
“There’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have.”
“Nobody knows more about taxes than me, maybe in the history of the world.”
“Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.”
“Nobody is better on humility than me.”
“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain.” - This is my personal favourite and was in response to who he's consulting on foreign policy.
There are many, many more, all can be found at a link I will provide at the end. But they're all just a variation on a theme. And all this from the man in the most powerful position on earth, the POTUS. If this catalogue of egotistical mania doesn't worry you, nothing will.
I thought the exclamation marks were only right under the circumstances. When it comes to the Dunning-Kruger effect, this woman takes the cake. And the biscuit. She is the ultimate example I think I can give, email me if you can think of anyone more fitting of the title of "Dunning-Kruger effect example of the century/millennium/ever..."
Though she is undoubtedly farcical and relentlessly mocked in equal measure, she too is no laughing matter. For all her train-wreck interviews and foot in the mouth moments, she truly believes that the only reason she is on the end of such scathing criticism is because she is black and a woman, and a combo of both.
DIANE, IT'S BECAUSE YOU ARE COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT.
The link above is of Abbott being forced to listen to her own car-crash interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC when she had a bit of a mathematical brain malfunction... It was hilarious.
Yet here she is on BBC's "Daily Politics" show defending herself with seemingly no sense of the fact that it was indeed yet another disaster for her and the Labour party. One of many, yet they keep her in the frontlines, allowing her to appear on shows regularly. And she never fails to deliver!
However, yet again there is a huge danger in people like this being in the position she is. This woman could possibly become the British Home Secretary if Labour were to gain power. This means she would be in charge of Policing in England and Wales and the likes of MI5 would have to answer directly to her. Yet she can't do simple maths, hence one of her nicknames being "Diane Abacus".
It's all fun and games till they get in power and you have Police earning £3 a year and 2-bedroom affordable housing being built at a cost of about £80 million per property... The woman is clueless, how she's worked her way up to the lofty heights she finds herself at is anyone's guess.
Simply type "Diane Abbott" into YouTube if you're feeling crap and let her lift your spirits with the unintentional comedy that she cannot help but spout. Try and forget that the taxpayer's money keeps this woman very well off financially though.
That's all folks. Though lighthearted in parts, I'v written this article in an attempt to demonstrate a psychological condition that we will have ALL come across in our lives. It affects everyone from the man on the street to the leader of the free world. The "free world", classic, I'll have to remember that one!
And the seriousness lies in the fact that the higher you climb towards the top of society with regards to those in charge or those with the greatest influence, the more prevalent it appears to become. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a strange phenomena but very real, very funny and very dangerous, all at the same time.
"I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know." - Socrates
Contact me by email: [email protected]
Did you like this article?
Thank you for your vote!
25 January 2019