Exam Performance and Dunning-Kruger Effect

Dunning-Kruger effect is a Cognitive Bias, in which a person thinks or believes that he or she is more smarter, capable and effective i.e. they are unable to make a realistic judgement of their own self and overestimate their capabilities.

This was developed after extensive research by two social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger.

A simple example is the marks scored by a candidate in an examination. Most of the candidates who feels that they scored less but were supposed to have secured more marks is a perfect case of Dunning-Kruger effect. Such candidate not only overestimate themselves in terms of their knowledge, capabilities etc. but they are also not doing a realistic assessment of their performance. They are never to succeed in the long run and will remain poor performers throughout unless they make a true assessment of self and are able to realize their own potential.

A simple way is to look at the results, do a self introspection, a detailed analysis on the outcome, accept the shortcomings and move ahead with better planning and more hard work.

It has been proved by various researchers that incompetent people are unable to accurately assess and recognize the quality of their own work and hence are poor performers, they are also. Further, such people think of themselves as better, capable, knowledgeable, more competent than others and are unable to recognize or assess or accept the good things, more competence people, resulting in the Dunning-Kruger effect

Dunning and Kruger suggest that this phenomenon occurs due to “dual burden.” People are not only incompetent; their incompetence robs them of the mental ability to realize just how inept they are.

A person may have little knowledge on the subject but due to Dunning-Kruger effect he/ she may think of himself as an expert and starts delivering the expertise!!!!

In today’s world, we come across many such ‘knowledgeable’ persons, basically who knows the “various dots” but are “unable to connect these dots and make a line.” However, the annoying fact is that they never understand and start delivering the ‘dots” and often become a irritating factor.

Next time, when you meet such a person, just remember the Dunning-Kruger effect and make a plan to relieve yourself.

Better luck for the next time.

Grateful to Kendra Cherry for the article published June 14, 2019 which motivated to pen these lines…

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