Monday, February 10, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss !

The Dunning-Kruger Effect


We have all been there whether socially,who doesn't have that awkward friend or acquaintance who
is rather crude or crass in public? or professionally, the off handed remarks you overhear or
are told that someone made to a colleague or a colleague of a colleague with absolute disregard.

The next thing you are likely to go on to say is " How can anyone be so stupid?":

The more appropriate and accurate question to ask would be: “How can anyone be so 
unaware of how stupid they are?" 

Fortunately, the latter is also easier to answer thanks to two psychologists  by the name of David
Dunning & Justin Kruger. The effect that they describe (aptly titled the Dunning-Kruger effect)
describes a cognitive bias whereby people lack the cognitive capacity to properly evaluate their own
performance. As a direct consequence, people remain blind to a poorly performed task, almost
oblivious to incompetence and wholly unaware that any corrective measures are needed.
Consider the original Dunning-Kruger experiment:
 Undergraduate Ignorance
A group of undergrad students was asked to rate their performance on a test that they had just
completed in class. Dunning & Kruger collected the student's replies and compared it with their
actual test performance. Their findings were clear, but rather troublesome:
The bottom quartile of test performers tended to overestimate their performance by approximately
30%, meanwhile top scorers somewhat underestimated theirs.
Far from an anomaly, these findings have been replicated multiple times over and across practitioners
from far-flung fields such as medical laboratory technicians assessing their knowledge of medical
terminology to game hunters prodded about their firearms know-how (No word as yet on real estate
investors or brokers, but we can safely assume they fall in line with other respondees)
Seeing The Light
The good news is that by reading this you have just become self-aware and are half way there. The
bad news is we are only half way there and the latter half will surely prove most difficult to overcome
as it requires accepting help from others more competent than ourselves, alas therein lies the very
problem of it all, our hesitancy to believe that anyone can be more competent than we.
With that said, Dunning & Kruger themselves have found that their effect can be lessened or even
broken by external communication as such communication seems to improve people's self-assessment
ability and thereby lay the groundwork for self-improvement.
To sum up, our perception of our own performance is anchored by preconceived notions which
themselves are a by-product of our irrational, emotional selves (System 1) this is the same self which
influences and makes intuitive decisions for us.
Remedy: Stop, listen and consider the views of others more rational and less biased than yourselves
(here's  looking at you asset managers, third party agents, city/county officials and others in REO

     Laureen Trent/ :VP Trent Realty, Journalist Brevard Times
  Contributor:Theodor Tonca:Writer, Businessman,entrepreneur,CEO of Graham Theodor LTD     
     The Trent Family  serving Brevard County and Florida since 1989


assessments. Justin Kruger; David Dunning Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Vol. 77, Dec. 1999,1121-1134.
Grazioplene; Kimberlee D'Ardenne Psychology Today, Quilted Science June 6, 2010.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect Wikipedia, Feb. 3, 2014.



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