The Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Paradox of Our Own Ignorance - Deepstash
The Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Paradox of Our Own Ignorance

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Paradox of Our Own Ignorance

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The Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Paradox of Our Own Ignorance

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Ignorance Of Our Own Ignorance

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is the mind's tendency to overestimate one’s own knowledge or competence and to underestimate one’s own ignorance. It usually occurs when the information is unknown to us, with one peculiar complication: The information that something is unknown to us is also unknown to us.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is essentially a meta-layer of ignorance. Example: drivers who pride themselves as being competent and safe drivers making highly unsafe driving errors.

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  • Known Knowns: Things we know, like how to ride a bicycle.
  • Known Unknowns: Stuff we don’t understand, like quantum physics.
  • Unknown Knowns: Things we know but never realized that we knew it. Most of it comes naturally to us, like parenting or crying.
  • Unknown Unknowns: This is the information we have no clue about, and we don’t even know the fact that we don’t have a clue about this.

Most people have information in all these four types, making each brain a combination of a labyrinth and a jigsaw puzzle.

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We are heavily blind-spotted with regards to our unknown unknowns as we continue to believe our own rhetoric and start to project it on others.

Our delusion is further complicated by the fact that even if people point to us our problem, we are unable to believe them, due to our lack of emotional awareness.

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To overcome the paradox of overcoming our own ignorance is itself a contradiction due to the fact that we need to look for something that we cannot see.

This is the same contradiction experienced by any conspiracy theorist: The basic premise of their belief (even if it is right) is based on zero-reasoning and the foundation that only they are the reasonable ones.

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As most people do not like ambiguity and uncertainty, they are much more comfortable in knowing something even if it is completely false.

Knowing something wrong is better than nothing, as our beliefs let us make sense of the world, which is subjective by every measure.

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If people are made to develop certain basic and related skills, including foundational understanding in an objective way, they perform better at certain tasks.

Being aware of the blindspots that one can have, the emotional awareness that one may not have, or about the nature of Dunning-Kruger Effect can help individuals who are already aware to some extent that they might not be the centre of the universe after all.

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  1. Do not ridicule them, as it can make them defensive.
  2. Provide examples and gently guide their minds towards the possibility that their belief may not be true.
  3. Being humble, unbiased and objective are important values that can be nurtured in all, especially youngsters.

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Bertrand Russell

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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