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Are the unskilled doomed to remain unaware?

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  • Ryvkin, Dmitry
  • Krajč, Marian
  • Ortmann, Andreas

Abstract

The unskilled-and-unaware problem describes a negative relationship between one’s skill level and self-assessment bias: the less skilled are, on average, more unaware of the absolute and relative quality of their performance. In this paper, we study whether, and to what extent, the miscalibration (largely, overconfidence) of the unskilled can be reduced by feedback. We report the results of two studies, one in a natural setting and one in a more controlled setting, where participants make incentivized judgments of their absolute and relative performance in various tasks and feedback conditions. In the first study, participants improve their calibration after being exposed to naturally available information in the form of environmental feedback (i.e., feedback about the nature of the task) and calibration feedback (i.e., feedback about one’s absolute and relative performance), but it is impossible to separate the effects of the two types of feedback. In the more controlled setting of the second study, we identified a positive effect of calibration feedback alone. In both studies, it is the unskilled who improve their calibration most. Our results suggest that the unskilled may not be doomed to be especially unaware. We also identify an important difference between the effects of feedback on the calibration of absolute and relative performance judgments. While the calibration of absolute performance judgments is more uniformly amenable to feedback, there appears to be a residual miscalibration of relative performance judgments by the unskilled that we attribute to differences in information acquisition and self-image.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryvkin, Dmitry & Krajč, Marian & Ortmann, Andreas, 2012. "Are the unskilled doomed to remain unaware?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 1012-1031.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:5:p:1012-1031
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2012.06.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Feld, Jan & Sauermann, Jan & de Grip, Andries, 2017. "Estimating the relationship between skill and overconfidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 18-24.
    2. Tomas Miklanek, 2017. "Ego-utility and Endogenous Information Acquisition; An Experimental Study," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp582, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. Brookins, Philip & Lucas, Adriana & Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2014. "Reducing within-group overconfidence through group identity and between-group confidence judgments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-12.
    4. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Muniza Askari & Marco Gazel, 2015. "Confidence Biases and Learning among Intuitive Bayesians," Post-Print halshs-01243584, HAL.
    5. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Muniza Askari & Marco Gazel, 2018. "Confidence biases and learning among intuitive Bayesians," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 84(3), pages 453-482, May.
    6. Schlösser, Thomas & Dunning, David & Johnson, Kerri L. & Kruger, Justin, 2013. "How unaware are the unskilled? Empirical tests of the “signal extraction” counterexplanation for the Dunning–Kruger effect in self-evaluation of performance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 85-100.
    7. Meyer, Steffen & Urban, Linda & Ahlswede, Sophie, 2016. "Does feedback on personal investment success help?," SAFE Working Paper Series 157, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    8. Dmytro Babik & Rahul Singh & Xia Zhao & Eric W. Ford, 2017. "What you think and what I think: Studying intersubjectivity in knowledge artifacts evaluation," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 31-56, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Calibration; Judgment errors; Unskilled; Unaware; Metacognition; Self-image; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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