What know-it-alls don’t know, or the illusion of competence

#1
https://aeon.co/ideas/what-know-it-alls-...competence

EXCERPT: [...] To investigate this phenomenon in the lab, Dunning and Kruger designed some clever experiments. In one study, they asked undergraduate students a series of questions about grammar, logic and jokes, and then asked each student to estimate his or her score overall, as well as their relative rank compared to the other students. Interestingly, students who scored the lowest in these cognitive tasks always overestimated how well they did – by a lot. Students who scored in the bottom quartile estimated that they had performed better than two-thirds of the other students! This ‘illusion of confidence’ extends beyond the classroom and permeates everyday life. In a follow-up study, Dunning and Kruger left the lab and went to a gun range [...]

Sure, it’s typical for people to overestimate their abilities. One study found that 80 per cent of drivers rate themselves as above average – a statistical impossibility. And similar trends have been found when people rate their relative popularity and cognitive abilities. The problem is that when people are incompetent, not only do they reach wrong conclusions and make unfortunate choices but, also, they are robbed of the ability to realise their mistakes. [...] Interestingly, really smart people also fail to accurately self-assess their abilities....

MORE: https://aeon.co/ideas/what-know-it-alls-...competence
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#2
Funny that this topic has emerged because just the other day my wife and I felt compelled to talk about one of our neighbors here in cottage country. My wife mentioned the fact that this person seems to think he knows everything. She commented about how I bit my tongue when he started talking in regards to my field of expertise, not aware that I knew he was spewing a lot of nonsense. Did I do the right thing by shutting up? Experiences with this type of personality has taught me that discretion is required yet I wonder if I'm actually feeding the beast?
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#3
(May 19, 2017 04:20 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Funny that this topic has emerged because just the other day my wife and I felt compelled to talk about one of our neighbors here in cottage country. My wife mentioned the fact that this person seems to think he knows everything. She commented about how I bit my tongue when he started talking in regards to my field of expertise, not aware that I knew he was spewing a lot of nonsense. Did I do the right thing by shutting up? Experiences with this type of personality has taught me that discretion is required yet I wonder if I'm actually feeding the beast?

One time at band camp… Tongue

I was having dinner with a few highly educated individuals.  I’m not one of them.  Same situation, though, one, who is always spouting nonsense, said something that was way off. For the first time in my life, I decided to test the waters, and correct him.  It was sort of exciting but scary at the same time.  He was pissed and tried like heck to put me back in my place.  Instead of arguing with him, though, I turned towards the other people at the table and asked them if they understood what I was saying.  They did and they all agreed with me.  When we were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot, he grabbed me by the arm, started squeezing it, and started in with, (I told you…blah-blah-blah.) I looked at his wife in dismay.  Luckily, she pulled him away and started reprimanding him.  He’s been extremely nice ever since, but I still don’t think it’s worth it, except online.  Can’t really grab me by the arm, if you don’t know who I am, right? Bwahaha!

BTW, what is your field of expertise, Zinman?
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#4
My field of expertise would contradict my anonymity philosophy for forum participation. I will say that when I do see it in a topic I generally avoid it or dumb my commentary down. I don't want to appear as a know it all for any subject, in keeping with the topic at hand.
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#5
(May 19, 2017 07:37 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: My field of expertise would contradict my anonymity philosophy for forum participation. I will say that when I do see it in a topic I generally avoid it or dumb my commentary down. I don't want to appear as a know it all for any subject, in keeping with the topic at hand.

Do you mind if I take a guess?
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#6
Yeah, the internet is especially rife with the Dunning-Kruger effect. I often find myself suffering from its corollary....that capable people often overestimate the knowledge or abilities of others. People just assume others are similar to themselves...which leads smart people to assume everyone is smarter than average. But that seems to work out great for the average internet posters, since intelligent people tend to take them more seriously than they actually warrant.
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#7
(May 19, 2017 08:05 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(May 19, 2017 07:37 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: My field of expertise would contradict my anonymity philosophy for forum participation. I will say that when I do see it in a topic I generally avoid it or dumb my commentary down. I don't want to appear as a know it all for any subject, in keeping with the topic at hand.

Do you mind if I take a guess?

No. Even if you nail it I won't confirm one way or the other. Faceless disembodied key punching anonymous cybernauts......that should take care of everybody....no? Smile
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#8
*cough* Oh, hey there, Syne.  We were just talking about you.  Tongue

Poor kid never got a Ladmo Bag.  Wink
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#9
(May 20, 2017 01:38 AM)Secular Sanity Wrote: *cough* Oh, hey there, Syne.  We were just talking about you.  Tongue

Thanks for the demonstration.
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#10
One thing about know-it-alls. They don't know they don't know it all. OH! Wait a minute, is that somewhat paradoxical? Only a genuine know-it-all should know when they don't know. That pretty much makes us all part of the club.
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