Confident Idiots

Dunning starts off his article talking about a segment from a late night talk to that millions of people have seen either when it aired, through reruns, and on the internet. He uses this segment to introduce his research in a way that makes it easier for us to understand. He shows how it isn’t the people’s knowledge on a subject, real or otherwise, that makes them claim to know about a made up thing, but the confidence of the person. The article then brings in American Author William Feather as well as a paper him and a colleague published in 1999 to further his point that it isn’t people knowledge on a subject or lack thereof, but their inability to realize how incompetent they are on a topic. Dunning connects this theory, called the Dunning-Kruger effect, to the 2008 Financial meltdown saying it was people’s ignorance of the housing market that caused it. This furthers his point that this effect can find its way into any subject matter because as long as there is knowledge in a specific field to learn, some people will fake that knowledge so they don’t have to admit they have no clue. But you may think this doesn’t apply to you, however, Dennings says that this problem of “unrecognized ignorance” is a problem that affects us all as a result of clutter in our heads. Another big part of the article shows how to fight this ignorance we are born with both in schools, using the Socratic method, and harder places to fight such as the internet and news media.


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