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Are the unskilled really that unaware? An alternative explanation

  • Krajc, Marian
  • Ortmann, Andreas

In a series of articles and manuscripts (e.g., [Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134; Dunning, D., Johnson, K., Ehrlinger, J., & Kruger, J. (2003). Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 83-87; Ehrlinger, J., Johnson, K., Banner, M., Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (2008). Why the unskilled are unaware: Further exploration of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105, 98-121.]), Dunning, Kruger and their collaborators argued that the unskilled lack the metacognitive ability to realize their incompetence. We propose that the alleged unskilled-and-unaware problem - rather than being one of biased judgements - is a signal extraction problem that differs for the skilled and the unskilled. Specifically, the unskilled face a tougher inference problem than the skilled.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 724-738

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:5:p:724-738
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Andreas Ortmann & Ralph Hertwig, 2002. "The Costs of Deception: Evidence from Psychology," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 111-131, October.
  2. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: An illustration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp221, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. Chu, Yun-Peng & Chu, Ruey-Ling, 1990. "The Subsidence of Preference Reversals in Simplified and Marketlike Experimental Settings: A Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 902-11, September.
  4. David M. Grether & James C. Cox, 1996. "The preference reversal phenomenon: Response mode, markets and incentives (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 381-405.
  5. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
  6. Ehrlinger, Joyce & Johnson, Kerri & Banner, Matthew & Dunning, David & Kruger, Justin, 2008. "Why the unskilled are unaware: Further explorations of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 98-121, January.
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