Dunderhead Tuesday


The Dunning-Kruger effect comes out of research conducted by David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University since 1999. I have not seen any diaries here about it, but it is surprising how often it is a propos to our discussions here. I hope to make it a major tool in our explanatory toolkit.

Over the years, Dunning and Kruger have conducted studies over a wide range of cognitive tasks. Following the skill assessment, subjects are shown their results, and then asked to rate their performance on a percentile basis. What they have found is that those performing well — say, 65th %ile and higher — exhibit a quite accurate assessment of where they placed, while those who do more poorly are unaware of their own poor performance. In fact, those who do quite badly, say at the 15th %ile, tend to overestimate their relative skill by 50% or more.

A way to summarize these results is to say that those who are truly stupid are too stupid to realize that they are stupid. As Dunning has put it, slightly less colorfully:

If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.… [T]he skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.



About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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8 Responses to Dunderhead Tuesday

  1. Den says:

    I warned of this back in 2007, being stupid is OK, allowing stupid to exist is criminal.

    Expect less in customer service, quality products, and more accidents, now you see why being stupid is criminal. Critical thinking and reasoning is required in a healthy society, both are severely lacking as evidenced by our societal sickness, shootings are the most obvious.

    You want to get rid of shootings? educate the populous instead of feeding them garbage in the Media.

    Remember, no one likes a dumb-ass except another dumb-ass, don’t be a dumb-ass, the buck has to stop somewhere.


    • º¿carol says:

      Republicans have evolved, as have their constituents. Their constituents are the ill-informed, less informed, low information, stupid, ignorant people out here. You see it every bloody day. Everyone in comment sections that likes Trump, or any republican generally has terrible spelling and grammar. Plus they don’t get jokes, or catch sarcasm.

      So, now it’s the party of the dumb, or the party of the smart. Or the party of the rich, or the poor. Or the party of evil, or good. Talk about polarized.

      Our education system is in dire straits, turning out so many ignorant people. I want what Bernie wants, tax funded 4 year college for our kids. I want taxes to pay for K through 4 years of college. College OR the trades. It’s pretty simple the fixes we need in this country, the hard part is getting past the ignorant and stupid to get it done.


  2. º¿carol says:

    One doesn’t have to go to the library to consult Consumer Reports. It can be googled, however, unless you pay them for access, you can’t see all their ratings and information. I have a subscription to CR, have had for probably 40 years. I finally gave in and paid to visit their website, to see it totally. You would think I would have had a natural access to it, but nope.


  3. Den says:

    I declare 2015 the year of the Stupids, for getting in the way of intelligent peoples’ progress with their camo-sleeveless-hat-on-backwards-tea-party-diesel-driving-and-noisy-ass-Harley-stupid.

    GROW UP! (if you can)


  4. Den says:

    An obligatory Dunderhead can be found HERE.

    First name – Adam,
    Last name – Pettibone

    Obviously no pun intended there.


  5. Den says:

    In response to Sara Silverman calling Jesus “gender fluid”:


  6. Den says:

    Off to the LLama races once again…


  7. David B. Benson says:

    Cabin fever


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