The Dunning-Kruger Effect Analysis Essay

The Dunning-Kruger Effect (DKE) is a phenomenon where unskilled individuals assess their abilities as much higher than is accurate. David Dunning explains this issue in his article “We Are All Confident Idiots. ” While his detailed descriptions and inclusion of several studies brings to light this problem that each and every one of us is afflicted by, his tone and use of provocative language may be interpreted by readers as arrogant and crude. In addition, his pessimistic tone does little to encourage his audience to actively seek solutions to the problem.

Dunning references several studies in his article. These studies help to inform the readers of the actual facts and psychology surrounding his argument. He introduces these as a “whole battery of studies” done by himself and others. He also adds that “this isn’t just an armchair theory. ” With this use of language, Dunning seems to have the need to validate his own accomplishments, by boasting about them in this article. The arrogance used in the description of these studies deters from the power that they convey. One of the studies mentioned took place at Boston University.

This study observed the responses of eighty participants with backgrounds in several different fields of science. They were asked to answer one hundred true/false questions on “why things happen. ” Of course, scattered throughout were several intentional false, purpose-driven questions. When rushed through the questions, they were nearly twice as likely to mark them as true. This study is very informative in explaining our tendencies towards endorsing purpose-driven questions. He goes on to add how the education system does a poor job in teaching evolution, but has little to ay on how we can combat this issue.

Keep in mind, this information is all written under the heading “Born Wrong. ” The last paragraph in this section uses the word “fail” four separate times. Not once is succeed mentioned. The lack of positivity and optimism when these facts are presented makes Dunning’s argument less effective. More than just scientific studies were included in the article. Dunning makes reference to Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” segment. In this part of his show, he goes around and asks people simple questions. The catch is these questions are riddled with fallacies.

These questions are meant to put people on the spot. No one wants to seem unintelligent so they often reply to the question even if they don’t truly know the answer. In his article Dunning states that “the most confident sounding people seem to have something that assures them about their answers. ” That being fact, memory or intuition. In one of his segments, Jimmy asks people what they think about Tonya and the Hardings, what the interviewers describe as a “hard-hitting” band.

People spew out responses like, “Yeah, a lot of men have been talking about them. Further adding that women aren’t really big fans. People who keep up with current events most likely have heard of Tonya Harding. But when they hear her name in a different, unfamiliar context, it can be difficult to associate them as “Oh yeah, Tonya Harding the olympic ice skater. ” Confabulation is a psychological term used to describe this, to fill in the gaps of one’s memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts. Dunning portrays these individuals highlighted in Jimmy’s segment as idiots, one might say even, confident idiots.

This is a harsh label for these people especially when these shows edit out the “I don’t know” responses to carefully curate their intended clip, make people look stupid. The use of this example in Dunning’s article creates doubt in his argument. Instead of using negative language, he could have spun this example into a positive one by explaining the psychology of it. A quote from Dunning’s article says, “One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather one should think of it as misinformed. ” This stood out as one of the few positive things that he had to say. An optimistic outlook on the consequences of the DunningKruger Effect.

He goes on to state that the better we understand our downfalls, the better we can work to improve ourselves in understanding truths. When the audience reads an article that highlights an issue, the natural instinct is to search for a ition. Articles about global warming often include ways to lessen the use of greenhouse gases or shrink your “footprint. ” This article lack a clear-cut solution to improve our awareness and prevent ignorant, but confident, responses. Maybe there ta clear cut solution solution, and if not, that could’ve been stated more clearly in the article.

Answering the question, “How can we change from misinformed to well informed? ” would have strengthened Dunning’s argument tremendously. Unfortunately, everyone is plagued by the Dunning-Kruger Effect. There will always be that level of knowledge above us, waiting to be reached. David Dunning explores the consequences of this effect in this article using a pessimistic tone. His arrogance shown in sentences like, “incompetent people do not recognize-scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are,” does little to “grab” the audience into reading further. In order to achieve true wisdom, one must always seek more knowledge.