Saturday, September 5, 2015

How DKE is DKE if you already know about DKE?

The Dunning-Kruger effect says that, if you're stupid, you'll think you're smart, and if you're smart, you'll think you're stupid (or, at least, "equal" or "similar"). That applies, though, only in cases where people haven't already heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect: people who are aware of the effect will, if they're somewhat stupid, have the potential for more accurately estimating their own inferior capabilities, while if they're smart, more accurately estimating their own superior capabilities.

In a world where no one had previously observed the "Dunning-Kruger effect," the DKE initial test(s) might've had significant merit to affirm the DKE. But what does it mean if someone, having heard of the DKE, subsequently begins to report her own results less modestly than otherwise, based upon her realistic assessment of, say, her IQ relative to that of the average test-taker on campus? For the initial tests, too, what about people who were so smart that they had already figured out the DKE on their own, as people have from time immemorial? And how does that interact with the higher-IQ bourgeois tendency to have been pedagogically required to self-report modestly, contra the less-educated prole tendency to grandiose self-reporting in order to obtain success in different types of life?

Dunning and Kruger were, no doubt, clever enough to have considered all this, so they rigged their little test to prove the point they wanted to make anyway. Well, for all that effort, they get to name that planet.


  1. I think it is very accurate, and let's leave the lower class proles out of it. It is most pronounced within the (ostensibly) highly educated upper strata. Within that supposedly homogeneous group, the stupid ones are unbearably smug - and demonstrably dumber than many actual lower class proles i've had a chance to converse with; I don't think the smart ones underestimate their ability: whatever capacity they possess is possessed by most humans. Whether you get to live in relative comfort and calm determines if it gets developed.

    I'm somewhere in between; I have good reasons to believe I understand things most in my field, or even intellectuals in general are completely oblivious to; yet my capacity to express, synthesize, or create something on the basis of them is no better than anyone I've ever encountered;

  2. so they rigged their little test to prove the point they wanted to make anyway

    People who get liberal arts degrees undergrad and grad alike, they think science is authority personified, and it's really hard to persuade them that certain kinds of humans have a gift for carrying the emblems of authority with grace, while implementing a personal agenda at odds with the pursuit of truth when describing the natural world.

  3. The working class is not exempt - every single contractor who has worked on my house has overpromised and underdelivered. Then i finally realised that I probably underestimate my own abilities to do repairs, and then is when i started to do all the repairs all by my myself. Fuck everybody.

  4. Fuckin' positivist bullshit. I'm so tired of it, I should just punch the next evolutionary psychologist I meet in the face.