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The Dunning-Krueger Effect & Today’s Arrogant Media

January 31st, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

It seems to me that there are a lot of aggressive, arrogant words these days.  Not just on blog comments, but also in the press.  People are short-tempered, self-centered, and would rather preach than listen.  And oddly, most of us are aware of this already, and yet nothing seems to change.  Perhaps the Dunning-Kruger effect can be offered as an explanation of why this is.

Have you ever noticed that when you speak with an “average Joe” on a topic at a superficial level, they are quick to offer direct, absolute answers to any problem?  “All you need to do is this, and BANG, problem solved”.  Now compare that with the typical responses from Joe Expert, trained over twenty years to deal with just such issues:  “Well, it’s not so simple, because when you do this, that tends to happen, causing even more problems”.

Average Joe knows his answer will work, despite a lack of information.  Joe Expert knows the simple answer won’t work based on years of experience, but his comments aren’t appreciated in most media, as the long-winded answer tends to cause people to tune out.

Researchers Justin Kruger and David Dunning recognized this, and built a some clever experiments to document it.

You can read more about it here: Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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