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Why the Unskilled are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent

Posted: 22 Nov 2006  

Joyce Ehrlinger

Stanford University - Department of Psychology; Florida State University - Department of Psychology

Kerri Johnson

New York University - Psychology Department

David Dunning

Cornell University

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New York University (NYU); New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Matthew Banner

Cornell University

Date Written: September 1, 2006

Abstract

People typically provide overly optimistic social comparisons when rating their competence relative to their peers. Previous work has shown that poor performers overestimate their performances the most because their incompetence deprives them of the skills needed to recognize their deficits. Five studies demonstrated that poor performers lack insight into their shortcomings even in real world settings and when given incentives to be accurate. An additional meta-analysis showed that it was lack of insight into their errors (and not mistaken assessments of their peers) that led to overly optimistic social comparison estimates among poor performers. Along the way, these studies ruled out recent alternative accounts that have been proposed to explain why poor performers hold such positive impressions of their performance.

Suggested Citation

Ehrlinger, Joyce and Johnson, Kerri and Dunning, David and Kruger, Justin and Banner, Matthew, Why the Unskilled are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent (September 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946242 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946242

Joyce Ehrlinger (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Florida State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Tallahasse, FL 32306
United States

Kerri Johnson

New York University - Psychology Department ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

David Dunning

Cornell University ( email )

Department of Psychology
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States

Matthew Banner

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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