This notion has become so popular that many probably consider it “common sense”. However, recent research shows that the original conclusions made by Dunning and Kruger were likely wrong :
We replicated, eliminated, or reversed the association between task performance and judgment accuracy reported by Kruger and Dunning (1999) depending on task difficulty. On easy tasks, where there is a positive bias, the best performers are also the most accurate in estimating their standing, but on difficult tasks, where there is a negative bias, the worst performers are the most accurate. This pattern is consistent with a combination of noisy estimates and overall bias, with no need to invoke differences in metacognitive abilities.
To put it simply, everybody, regardless of their skill or lack thereof, tend to make incorrect estimates about their own ability. A different study [pdf] (2008) has indicated that there may be a weak correlation between skill and estimate quality, but the significance is marginal at best.
Disclosure : This post was heavily influenced by “All Are Skill Unaware” by Robin Hanson.Related posts :