The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that describes a phenomenon where people with low ability or competence in a particular domain tend to overestimate their ability or competence in that domain. In other words, individuals who lack knowledge or skills in a specific area are more likely to believe they are highly knowledgeable or skilled in that area, despite evidence to the contrary.
The Dunning-Kruger effect was first proposed by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999, based on their research that showed that people who performed poorly on tasks requiring logical reasoning or other cognitive skills tended to overestimate their performance. The researchers attributed this phenomenon to a lack of metacognitive ability, or the ability to accurately assess one's own competence.
The Dunning-Kruger effect can manifest in various aspects of life, such as academic performance, job performance, decision-making, and social interactions. For example, someone with low proficiency in a particular subject may believe they are an expert in that subject and dismiss feedback or criticism from others. On the other hand, individuals who are genuinely knowledgeable or skilled in a domain tend to be more aware of their limitations and may underestimate their own abilities due to the "impostor syndrome."
It's important to note that the Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias and does not apply to everyone in every situation. Many factors, such as culture, education, and experience, can influence one's self-assessment of competence. Additionally, self-awareness and feedback from others can help mitigate the effects of the Dunning-Kruger effect and promote a more realistic and accurate assessment of one's abilities.