The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Proof You Might be Stupid

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Proof You Might be Stupid

Good to know.

Have you ever been in an argument with someone so stupid there was no point in even trying? And eventually you just give up because they would never understand, let alone admit they were wrong? Well, I have good news for you: there's a scientific explanation for it. Well, kind of.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a research study conducted by Cornell University psychology professors David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999. Essentially, we can attribute the phenomenon to a person’s failure to realize their own incompetence. Their lack of awareness, ironically, is due to their low level of competence, which fails to allow them to acknowledge they don’t, in fact, know what they’re talking about. This would explain the ever-frustrating confidence every not-so-intelligent person seems to (erroneously) have.

The study was inspired by McArthur Wheeler, an unsuccessful bank robber who believed covering his face with lemon juice -- under the impression it would prevent his being recognized by surveillance cameras since lemon juice is used as invisible ink -- would help him get away with it. (I will never not laugh at this.)

This research was based on experiments which focus on logic, grammar, and evaluating humor (author’s note: with emphasis on the latter). Similar discrepancies were found in self-assessments, noting that below-average people overestimated their IQ scores. However, on the other hand, above-average people underestimated their scores, suggesting that the Dunning-Kruger Effect not only applies to people who think they are smarter than they are, but the opposite, as well. In addition, these people not only underestimate themselves, but overestimate others -- bless their souls.

I'm bringing this study to your attention for two reasons: firstly, I have only just discovered it, and it has changed my life. I desperately needed to share it. And also, the presidential election is coming up. Need I say more? Truthfully, I’m not much of a politics person. I am, however, an English major, writer and editor. This information made me realize that while I dwell on the fact that people older than me still don’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” it’s not entirely their fault. Well, it is. But now I know that there’s a scientific explanation for their confident and incorrect use of it in everyday sentences.

So next time you find yourself wanting to rip your hair out after a conversation with an especially...simple-minded human being, think about David Dunning and Justin Kruger. Or maybe even reread this article! I know I'll certainly look back on it given the composition of my Facebook feed.

It helps. Trust me.

Cover Image Credit: Blogspot

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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