Are the unskilled really that unaware? An alternative explanation

Author: Krajc, Marian; Ortmann, Andreas

Description: In a series of articles and manuscripts (e.g., [Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134; Dunning, D., Johnson, K., Ehrlinger, J., & Kruger, J. (2003). Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 83-87; Ehrlinger, J., Johnson, K., Banner, M., Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (2008). Why the unskilled are unaware: Further exploration of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105, 98-121.]), Dunning, Kruger and their collaborators argued that the unskilled lack the metacognitive ability to realize their incompetence. We propose that the alleged unskilled-and-unaware problem–rather than being one of biased judgements–is a signal extraction problem that differs for the skilled and the unskilled. Specifically, the unskilled face a tougher inference problem than the skilled.

Subject headings: Calibration; Judgement errors; Unskilled; Unaware; Metacognition; Incompetence; Inference

Publication year: 2008

Journal or book title: Journal of Economic Psychology

Volume: 29

Issue: 5

Pages: 724-738

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Serial number: 3650

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