Is the Dunning-Kruger Effect Real?

Any comments from our resident biostatisticians?


Yes, the effect is real. And it is very obvious to the educator.

I was noticing it well before Dunning and Kruger reported their work. As I would have described it:

  • The A students know that they are A students. The B students generally know that they are B students. The C students aren’t so sure where they fit. But the D students are quite confident that they are B students.

Having spent some time studying human cognition, I can explain why I think this happens. It turns out that the secret to knowledge is not in learning facts. The real way to knowledge is to first learn how to judge your own competence. And Dunning-Kruger is about the consequence of having failed at gaining that knowledge of self.

I suspect that this is also why we need real teachers; why computer based instruction does not work well. The real teachers help us learn how to judge ourselves.


yes, its real but it is characterized in a bigoted hateful way.
I for example play the piano and sing. Did it for years… Played Piano in Sunday morning church and Sunday school. Im not that good but I got by.
Well I have been practicing. LoL Serioiusly… And I invented some alterations to some songs etc… And I practiced my vocals… There is this coffee house that I attend and I thought. Oh, I will created a couple hours of music like other people do and bring the house down.
So, with about 3/4 of my Grand Opera prepared, I thought hey I should put this on my phone and do some recording. LoL.
Well, The piano wasn’t too bad, but If I heard what I had recorded on the radio, I would change the channel. LoL. I was a Legend in my own mind. Maybe its not that bad. I did take singing lessons and Sing in a play in college and tour from Winnipeg to the East coast in a Choir. But honestly. with the best of efforts by myself it stinks.
Lets be clear about the Dunning Kruger effect. its generally spoken about by Jerks who think they are the superior and want to piss on the other person.
Your Friends, the good people with larger brains are kinder and not so full of themselves to use such a term.
What makes that coffee house so beautiful. Some times there are bad bands that come in and they do a poor job. Still the people are glad to hear them and there is warmth and friendship. Dunning and Kruger likely had no friends.

You must know a lot about the Dunning-KrĂĽger Effect. :grin:


LoL. You almost gave me a split gut.


You know a lot of Teachers also have this disease. Ergo the term teachers hate. If you cant do something that well, then you avoid it and just teach the subject… something like that. Teachers are well known for having an inflated view of themselves. Atheists as well. On scale some Scientists are off the scale on this scale when they diminish the Brilliance of God. Einstein didn’t do that. He said something to the effect, about the existence of God, I know far less than 1% of that there is to know to be in a position to say I know God doesn’t exist. he in some ways realized he wasn’t that smart after all. 100 years from now, we all will be considered cave men in comparison.

I can see how the D-K Effect could easily be confounded with Regression to the Mean. (RTM) Consider the case where both the self-assessment and performance score are random: Someone who self assesses high by chance is likely to perform worse, also be chance, and vice-versa.

If we could control for actually expertise by some prior assessment, then we might be able to tease out the difference between D-K and RTM. This should then be a measure of how well people can self-assess performance given their actual skills, giving a more unbiased measure of DKE, at least within a given area of expertise.

I mostly agree with @nwrickert about students and grades. There is an additional bias here because the “D” student will tend overstate the grade they expect so that they might argue for a better grade later (but no randomized control studies of this I know of).


Not sure why this came up. A little number showed up and I clicked on it… It took me to here but there is no new post just your old slur.
Not sure, maybe someone liked a post?

On a completely unrelated subject, I’m curious to know how competent you think you are.

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I don’t ask people if they are competent. That is how competent I am. Its the requirement necessary for being a human. You just failed. What DNA sequence led to this situation? Maybe it was just nature vs. nurture.
Please, Ask a real question. A human one.

Holy Moly! Even your insults are incoherent.


I have no idea what that was about. It does not seem to have anything to do with the topic of this thread.

As for the video, consider me underwhelmed. It seems to be all innuendo with no substance.


Its really not about the thread. Unless you think twitter Facebook and Google are experiencing the Dunning Kruger Effect themselves.
Its about the conversation that Dan and I had. And I am asking him permission to introduce this topic because of the Issue I have with moderation of what I think is reasonable…
The Scientist who invented MRNA tech to me is some one I think we should hear from. And his point is a valid one. Free speech and Science need to be hand in glove in my opinion.

People just cant handle people being dreamers and inventors in fields they know nothing about. But it is exactly how Invention happens. Its exactly what the Scientific method is about. If people knew everything they wouldn’t have to speculate grand things.
My X has grade 8 Piano. I don’t she cant play worth crap. I can play without music a song I never heard before. She could practice and play a song much better than I could but by the time that happens people would have left the building. A piano teacher might say, who are you you don’t even have grade one, look how sloppy you are… Yet, I can draw a crowd around the piano in a couple minutes. My X couldn’t in a million years.
There is who you are, who others think you are and who you think you are. If they are out of sink there is stress. But if who you think you are and who others think you are is about the same, who you really are is something not to tell anyone. LoL.
With humility we should all reach for the stars even if we don’t know but hold back if it is something that will kill someone. So no inventing nukes in your kitchen or operation on your kids or flying a jet liner without training.

I ran across a great quote from Galileo that justifies a quick necro of this thread.

“With regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them.”–Galileo Galilei

It appears Galileo beat Dunning and Kruger to press.


Alas, there is an operatic explanation of the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

(I am certain that I have successfully discovered the best-ever operatic production of the Dunning-Kruger Effect because I am over-confident of my abilities. I also assume that I have a better-than-average understanding of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.)

POSTSCRIPT: OK, that lesser-known operatic performance is not quite at the level of “Vesti la giubba” from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci but a nice try nonetheless. The performer probably suffers from DK and assumes that he reaches these artistic heights:


That video is produced by the same people who bring us the Ig-Nobel Awards.

I occasionally send suggestions for the Annals of Improbably Research newsletter, and several have been accepted. :slight_smile:

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You have just presented irrefutable evidence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Also, your attitude toward her is no doubt highly relevant to why she is your “X”.

Here is Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. Pick any 5 minute excerpt from the piece—i.e. the length of a song—and tell us what kind of crowd you can draw around the piano in a couple minutes as you perform it.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

Hoax is unavailable to respond at present.