Why The Less Informed Think They Have Superior Intelligence
If you have a short-fuse, then you know that there’s nothing more infuriating than dealing with know-it-alls. And worse, if they don’t actually what they’re talking about.
You’ve probably noticed it while dealing with people online. In our cursed online social networks, sometimes you’ll see people spit out statements that would make your jaw drop from sheer shock. But we actually see it everywhere, from people confidently declaring their expertise in meetings to trolls peddling fake news on the daily. Some people are literally so thick, they cannot realize it. As it turns out, it’s actually proven by science.
In a study by David Dunning and Justin Kruger published in 1999, they found that less skilled people tend to be more unaware of their own incompetence. Apart from that, they even propose that their lack of self-awareness actually prevents them from even acknowledging that they have little knowledge. They named this trend the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The authors found that participants who scored lower on tests on humor, grammar, and logic drastically overestimated their performance and ability on the tests. The researchers conclude that less-skilled people have poor abilities, but this lack of ability sadly blinds them from actually seeing how little they know. To prove the point, in the study, participants in the bottom 12th percentile self-predicted that they would be on the 62nd percentile.
This lack of metacognition—the ability to measure oneself objectively—mostly stems from overconfidence. People use confidence to project to appear as if they know what they are talking about, but listen closely, and you’ll be able to hear BS from a mile away.
Of course, it just doesn’t affect dumb people. The close cousin and opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect is the imposter syndrome, where skilled people are plagued by self-doubt issues.
Sometimes, you just come across people with all the confidence in the world and none of the brain cells to make up for it. Now, no one will blame you if you ask how they got so far in life. Honestly, I’d like to know where they find their neverending source of confidence.
It’s a personal belief of mine that faking it will only get you so far, but in a country with questionable people calling the shots, maybe confidence does make a difference.