This disconnect may be responsible for many of the problems of our society.

With over a decade of research, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has shown that humans find it "inherently impossible to get an idea of ​​what you know." If a person lacks knowledge on logical reasoning, humor, emotional intelligence or skill for chess, that person will tend to value their skills in this area above average.

Dunning and Justin Kruger colleague added "people have given reviews on some area of ​​knowledge and logical reasoning, knowledge about STDs and how to avoid them, emotional intelligence, and so on. Then we have corrected and just as we asked believe that they have. We ask ourselves, 'What percentage have successful?' "

The results are very uniform in all areas of knowledge: The people who really did well on the test tend to feel more confident of their results that people who did not work out well in the exam, but only slightly.


Almost everyone thinks he has done better than average. "For those who took the test really bad, those with a percentile of 10 or 15 - believe that their outcome may be in the 60 percentile or 55, as can be seen above the pass," Dunning said.

The same pattern appears in the testing ability of people to rate how funny he can be a joke, correct grammar, or even your own skill at chess. "People, basically, still believe that are outperforming others."

It's not just optimism, but his total lack of knowledge that makes them unable to recognize their own deficiencies. Even when Dunning and his colleagues gave participants a $ 100 reward if they could accurately assess themselves, they failed. "And that they were trying to be honest and fair," he said.

Dunning believes that the inability of people to assess their own knowledge is the cause of many of the ills of society, including climate change denial. "Many people do not have sufficient training in science, so you can, without complexes, misunderstand. But because they do not have the ability to evaluate not realize how crazy that can become their conclusions."

In the same vein, people who have no talent in a particular area tend not to be able to recognize talent or good ideas of others, from co-workers to politicians. This could invalidate the democratic process, based on which citizens must be able to identify and support the best candidate.

Finally this research reminds us that none of us are as big as we think we are. And we could not be right about things in which we believe to be right. And if we try to make a joke of it probably will not have the grace that we believe it has.