Talk:Dunning–Kruger effect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
High traffic

Dunning–Kruger effect has been linked from multiple high-traffic websites.

22 June 2007 Reddit Link See visitor traffic
23 June 2007 Digg Link See visitor traffic

Whether to add Trump as an example?[edit]

I say NO. This article is about a psychological term. It does not list any other living or dead people as examples. Making a whole section about "contemporary politicians" is bad enough; making it be entirely about one very controversial person is worse. I think this article should stay with what appears to be its longstanding policy, of not assigning this label to individuals. For one thing, this "effect" is highly insulting to the people it is applied to, violating BLP almost by definition. In any case we should not be applying psychiatric or psychological labels to people, even when the person applying the label is an "expert", unless the person him/herself uses the label, or a person who has actually examined or treated them uses it (which in most jurisdictions would require the person's permission). I opened a discussion on this subject to the BLP talk page a few weeks ago; the discussion is still visible at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons#Mental health of a subject. The general conclusion was that articles about living people should not include speculative or academic or "long distance" evaluation of the mental health of living people. --MelanieN (talk) 22:21, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Well, whether ascribing a condition is insulting or not isn't really relevant. It is entirely conceivable that in such a case the three conditions (neutrality, verififiability, no original research) are met. In this case, Herostratus has some solid sourcing and, what's more, this is, it seems to me, one of those conditions where a "long distance" diagnosis can be made with some confidence, as a few eminent psychoanalysts have. That's not to say we should put Trium in here, of course (I think not--it's too hip for my taste and undue in a couple of ways), but this isn't automatically, or a priori, a BLP violation. There's plenty of BLP-violating material floating around about Trump, and much of it much worse. Drmies (talk) 03:26, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
This sounds like a WP:OSE argument. Things like the Goldwater rule exist for good reason. Even if Wikipedia isn't bound to obey them, there is a matter of encyclopedic value vs. well-source tabloid nonsense. If a mental health professional evaluates or someone credentialed to make a determination evaluates Donald Trump as a patient and results are disclosed then okay. If not, we're just enabling attention-grabbing people with degrees. - Scarpy (talk) 05:26, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
I see your point re:the Goldwater rule, but what we have here is not tabloid nonsense. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Drmies (talk) 05:38, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
I thought a bit about adding this material, and I think it's a service to the reader, since concrete examples can be an aid to knowledge, and otherwise justified -- enough to have a proper RfC, which I'm working up. I'll post it presently. Herostratus (talk) 05:59, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
As an aside: Dunning-Kruger is not about mental health. Ignorance and its consequences are not a disease. The effect is just a correlation between ignorance and self assurance.
Trump is obviously the most visible example on the extreme end of both spectra and a wonderful incarnation and demonstration of the effect, but you need a little knowledge to appreciate that - Dunning-Kruger again - and a lot of people don't have that knowledge, otherwise he wouldn't be president. Therefore, since a lot of people would not get it and we try to be comprehensible, I think we should not include him. --Hob Gadling (talk) 10:41, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Even if what you're saying is true, it's still strikes me as a bad reason for inclusion. Of all the possible examples we could include, this one is the most politically charged in 2017 and seems more like attention grabbing than anything else. It doesn't seem in keeping with WP:NPOV, it looks more like we're trying to be a cache of political arguments against a specific politician. (For any one who will ask here I voted for Gary Johnson and suggested my friends in swing states vote for Hillary). - Scarpy (talk) 19:46, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Read my last sentence. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:20, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with the condition that any statement made in this article is based off multiple reliable sources so as to avoid issue with WP:BLP. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 11:03, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the addition. It is ludicrous. The article is about a term related to "low-ability individuals [who] suffer from illusory superiority". Would the proposers of this text addition tell me who has a more superior position in the world than the president of the United States? Do they think the power the position gives to its holder is "illusory"? Do the proposers of the addition actually consider the ability to be successfully elected president of the United States is a display of "low-ability"? Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 17:38, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
You seem to have misunderstood. This is about an illusion of superiority in skill, not in political power. Trump definitely seems to believe nobody is better than him at various things he's not an expert in. (That said, I oppose the addition too -- it's unhelpful.) - Fyrius (talk) 11:48, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - just to restate again, this specific example in this specific article makes Wikipedia look partisan and is not keeping with WP:NPOV. - Scarpy (talk) 19:49, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
The point is not whether Wikipedia looks partisan or not. The point is whether it is notable and true enough. Just because Trump happens to be in power doesn't in any way mean he is less accountable and should not be called out as a perfect example of incompetence. This is objective, and not partisan if you view it in the lens of the broader world. Carl Fredrik 💌📧 03:38, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
To quote you User:CFCF - You call the president of America "a perfect example of incompetence". - this is a man who was the winner of a competition for the highest political house in the world, a very successful businessman, a loving father, such a claim is inconceivable. at least it is from an outside uninvolved reflection. I had a look at some of the links being offered to support this addition here as offered below and I saw also a lot of opinionated reporting. The idea that from a neutral position the first person in the world to be "a perfect example of incompetence" and to need adding to this article is The President of America is strange indeed. Govindaharihari (talk) 04:19, 4 March 2017 (UTC) 03:48, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm not the one saying it, look at the sources. It's also possible to be incompetent in one field and not in another. Both his paternal devotion and his business acumen are also disputed to say the least... But that is beside the point. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 04:09, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Sorry CFCF, I had an edit conflict and added it in late. As I was trying to say above - I had a look at some of the links being offered to support this addition here as offered below and I saw also a lot of opinionated reporting. Govindaharihari (talk) 04:22, 4 March 2017 (UTC) 
User:CFCF - I have to state my position clearly here for you, under wikipedia:policy and guidelines, I wouldn't even add here that the opinionated and Democratic attacks against Trump had derogatorily attempted to demean him by claiming he was "the perfect example of incompetence" Govindaharihari (talk) 04:34, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
User:CFCF Consider that much as been said about the size of Donald Trump's hands. I'll say they do look small to me but I'm not an expert in hands, and I'm not really sure how hand size would is quantified. So it's unsurprising to me that when I go to the article on hands there's not an section on Donald Trump although there are multiple reliable sources covering the allegations of Trump's disproportionately small hands. I don't see how this is any different. When used in connection with Trump the association with of Dunning-Kruger isn't used like a diagnosis or quantified, it's used like an ad-hominem. If we publish this we're elevating this ad-hominem and portraying it as if has encyclopedic value, violating WP:NPOV and WP:WEIGHT. - Scarpy (talk) 04:25, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Of possible (digital) interest, the popular interpretation lacks empirical support: Lewis Goudy (talk) 03:53, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose the addition (e/c). First, Trump is not a good example of DK. He looked at the rules and figured out a way to beat Clinton in the last election. That's hardly a sign of incompetence. The game was the electoral vote and not the popular vote. Trump won the electoral college. He spent substantially less than Clinton spent. Part of his field is finance. He's been a television personality for some time, so he knows how to get ratings. He made polarizing statements that made him the lead on the 6 o'clock news most nights. Free advertising. He claimed there was lots of voter fraud. Is that a stupid, unsupportable, statement, or is it a statement designed to lull Clinton supporters into believing that Clinton is winning (and going to the polls isn't necessary) while at the same time rallying Trump's base to head for the polls? Was Trump's campaign a weird accident, something run by an incompetent candidate, or strategically clever? Apparently Trump paid attention to Michael Moore while Clinton did not. How did Trump sidestep the Billy Bush incident and garner so much support from women? Trump fooled both Clinton and the pollsters. Was he an incompetent candidate? an extraordinary lucky one? or did he say what he needed to say to win the election? If Trump is a modern day Machiavelli, then he is not a good example of DK. A good example would be someone who is obviously incompetent, but if Trump were obviously incompetent to almost everybody, then he would not have won the election. So even if he is incompetent for the office, he's not a good example. His State of the Union speech got good marks from the media.
    Second, the motive for including Trump in this article seems questionable. Is the motive because he's a good example of the effect, or is the goal to label Trump an incompetent? Even a small dose of the latter clouds NPOV. The country is fractured: the half that voted for Clinton firmly believe Trump is a huge mistake; those who voted for Trump wanted to change the status quo. There will be plenty of authors who will find reasons to trash Trump.
    Third, the references are not that good. Trump is a salesman, and salesmen puff. When a salesman says "my IQ is one of the highest", do we believe him? Do we think the salesman really believes that? I don't see Slate being a sterling source about psychology. Dunning would be a strong source, but Dunning said only "perhaps". Inclusion is a poor idea. Glrx (talk) 20:40, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    Nobody says he is incompetent at bluffing, fooling people, or winning elections - you are preaching to the choir regarding that question. He is incompetent at pretty much everything a president is supposed to do after winning the election: diplomacy, credibility, dignity, representing his people, picking competent people for important jobs, judging policies, having opinions on complex subjects such as climate change or vaccination, and so on and so on and so on. And that is what this is about. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:41, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Since the main argument for notability is the appeal to the authority of "Dunning himself", I think the cited article warrants greater care in interpretation. Has "Dunning himself [actually] singled out Trump"? Where does Dunning make the diagnosis? (Calling it a diagnosis slyly suggests mental illness.) His actual introductory statement could be flagged as wiggle words if they were not rhetorical. "Many commentators have argued that Donald Trump’s dominance in the GOP presidential race can be largely explained by ignorance…" He does not say "I have argued”; to the contrary, he says "But …".
No, Dunning did not single Trump out; his article is a polite reaction to others who did so in his name.
"Dunning-Kruger Effect" is not a diagnosis of exceptional condition -- that is clear in Dunning’s own words; "... people, in general, suffer from what has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect." It is a common effect, as I understand it, applicable to almost anybody, because almost anybody has some areas of incompetency. I compare it with optimism bias. Apparently, everybody "suffers" from optimism bias. Optimism bias is wired into the normal human brain. Only the mildly clinically depressed are "spared" the effect.
Where Dunning really gets down to a thesis is where he reports that the most likely voters are those people who are the self-described "well-informed". "But perceiving oneself as informed was not necessarily tied to, um, being well-informed. .... well-informed voters accurately endorsed true statements about economic and social conditions in the U.S.—just as long as those statements agreed with their politics"
In short, ill-informed voters who think they are well-informed is just the nature of the game, here.
However, the Dunning-Kruger Effect makes for a great ad hominem; it is a really smart-sounding way to discredit someone (Rule #5), but, IMO, arguing the Dunning-Kruger Effect often begs the question.
Dunning specifically says it’s not just Trump; "We all run the risk of being too ill-informed to notice when our own favored candidates or national leaders make catastrophic misjudgments."
So, I Oppose the addition, on the basis that the Dunning citation is misrepresented to make a claim that Dunning in fact does not make in his article. IveGoneAway (talk) 06:20, 3 March 2017 (UTC) 01:19, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, let's see. "[T]he main argument for notability is ...Dunning himself". But that's not true. Dunning's article is a marker of notability. However, there are also articles in other notable publications. OK then "the main argument... is the appeal to the authority of 'Dunning himself'". But this is silly because Dunning actually is an authority on this subject. Instead of appealing to authorities, should we source our articles to people who don't know anything about the subject?? In Special relativity, shall we remove "In his initial presentation of special relativity in 1905 [Einstein] expressed these postulates as..." since we are just appealing to the authority of Einstein, and replace it with my Uncle Dwight's thoughts on the matter? Really?
Yes Dunning is somewhat circumspect, as befits an academic (this does not mean his words don't have clear meaning, though). Its also true that the the thrust of his article is mainly (although not entirely) about Trump's voters rather than Trump himself.
So for instance here Dunning says "The problem isn’t that voters are too uninformed. It is that they don’t know just how uninformed they are." Do you think he is describing the Dunning-Kruger effect? Or something else?
So then Dunning says "people, in general, suffer from what has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect", and you use this to conclude that "In short, ill-informed voters who think they are well-informed is just the nature of the game".
Yeah, if you take "in general" to mean "universally and to a similar degree". But then all you really have is an argument for deleting this entire article: "Since people suffer from it universally and to a similar degree, then the term is meaningless; we should no more have this article than we should have one titled Human oxygen-breathing syndrome". But that's a different discussion.
But Dunning didn't say "universally and to a similar degree"! He would be unlikely do that, since that would be tantamount to saying "My entire academic career is based on fraud or nonsense".
Oh, and Dunning then goes on to say "This syndrome may well be the key to the Trump voter — and perhaps even to the man himself. Trump has served up numerous illustrative examples of the effect as he continues his confident audition to be leader of the free world even as he seems to lack crucial information about the job.
I mean, what do you think this passage means? Perhaps here Dunning is offering his grandmother's recipe for dumplings?
But even so you say "Dunning did not single Trump out". But as the passage I quoted shows, this is not an argument but rather a flat mischaracterizing the source. That's not helpful.
The thing is, there are reasonable arguments to be made for not including the material. I don't think I agree with with them at this point, but I'm willing to be persuaded. Maybe it's too tangential to the subject. Maybe I'm wrong on the BLP angle. Maybe even if the material is good, its likely to so contentious that arguing over it is net drain on the Wikipedia not worth the small encyclopedic value of the material, or will be a distraction to the reader. And so forth.
These are reasonable arguments. If you want to make reasonable arguments we're listening. Herostratus (talk) 15:29, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Herostratus there are at least two mistakes in this discussion. One is in treating this like a diagnosis of a disease or a syndrome, which it's not. There is no Dunning-Krugerism. One does not "suffer from Dunning-Kruger" like one might suffer from the syndrome described by Hans Asperger or Tay-Sachs. Building on the first point, it's not at all clear from this article and in this context how the Dunning-Kruger effect resolves fundamental attribution error. Is the claim that if a below average chess player or medical student overrates their capabilities in chess or medicine that they will similarly overrate their abilities in everything they're below average at? Or is it better to take it as an example of a cognitive bias humans are susceptible to when they're bad at something. It seems to me like it doesn't because they only people attempting to say it describes a trait more than a state are using it opportunistically.
This second point is related to the human breathing argument above, except human breathing is obvious and the value of understanding the Dunning-Kruger effect (and having an article on it) is "hey, we know from all of this research that when humans are below average at something our brains tend to make us think we're way better at that thing than we really are. So if you want to objectively evaluate your skill at something, you should keep this in mind." In this case Trump obviously is subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect, because the research indicates anytime a human assesses his or her skill at something they are subject the Dunning-Kruger effect and Trump is human.
No specific person is an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in the way we've been discussing it, because the Dunning-Kruger effect the tendency for bias in a person's assessment of his or her ability at something.
I would say I've basically reversed my position on Cliff Claven here too. Even fictional characters are non-examples. If we're going to pick examples, we should pick specific assessment situations where the cognitive bias is abundantly clear.
If we're not doing that, that we're creating our own Dunning-Krugerism neologism in an article about the Dunning-Kruger effect. - Scarpy (talk) 19:53, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
@Scarpy:Right. Well, I agree that it's not a medical syndrome. It's a trait. I don't see people arguing that it's medical, I think we all agree there.
For most any trait, people are on a continuum. Sometimes the continumm is a bell curve, but even if not, there are people at the extreme of the continuum. I also agree that probably different people exhibit it in different ways at different times. It's entirely possible that Donald Trump is 1) bad at chess and 2) understands and accepts that he's bad at chess; and so forth. However, our sources are not concerned with "chess" but with "being head of state and government of a world power". Whether using President Trump as an example here is opportunistic or illustrative is a matter of opinion I guess (maybe its both).
For most any trait, people are on a continuum, but this does not mean that traits do not exist. Futhermore, for most any given trait, some people exhibit it to a remarkable degree.

So then one could say, "Well yeah but 'remarkably tall' is pretty obvious and objective and easily measurable, while 'exhibiting behavior described by Dunning-Kruger effect to a remarkable degree' is harder to quantify -- it's just more ineffable". I mean, its not mad to make that argument. It is harder. But "harder" does not mean "impossible". So I just don't agree. And we have good sources (including Professor Dunning) who also don't agree.
If there is such a thing as "Dunning-Kruger effect", then we have several good refs indicating that Donald Trump and/or his supporters exhibit behaviors quite consistent with it to a remarkable degree. (Behaviors -- nobody knows what his internal mental state really is, and it doesn't matter.) We understand that President Trump doesn't "have" Dunning-Kruger effect -- its not like scabies or whatever, where you either have it or you don't, and nobody's saying it is.
Illustrative examples are designed to help the reader understand the subject of an article: "Oh, I get it! Like him!". We might not want an illustrative example here. But if we do, President Trump's an excellent one:
  • He's very well-known worldwide.
  • Because he's the POTUS, WP:BLP arguments against using a live example are much weakened (in my opinion; it's debatable, but at least the point can be cogently made, and I did so in the section below).
  • He exhibits behaviors consistent with the effect to an obvious and extreme degree (which is good for illustration).
  • And we have lots of good refs saying just that. Herostratus (talk) 23:04, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
@Herostratus: No, it's not a trait. Zero evidence has been presented that it is a trait. This is the point I was making about fundamental attribution error is the difference between state and trait. I'm perplexed as to why in a very long response you've completely neglected to address the point I made. An illustrative example of a state has to describe a situation, an event, conditions under which and assessment of skill is made. Not a person. If you have not yet read the article on fundamental attribution error, I would really appreciate it if you would. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to this conversation. - Scarpy (talk) 15:57, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
@Scarpy:Well, yes its an internal state, but its an internal state that's also manifested as a trait. If it was truly only an internal state we couldn't study it and we couldn't have an article. If it's an internal state that comes in lab studies but doesn't manifest in the real world, that would be... odd, and rather inexplicable. (Besides which it's not so, which is why people don't look at Cliff Clavin and think "well, there could never be a person like that in real life".)
Yeah I read Fundamental attribution error and I don't necessarily agree with all of it... according to the article its claimed, and contested. I'm not really equipped to accept or refute the claim, just pointing out that's it's apparently not settled.
I mean one big thing is that is in real life, if you read somebody praising a a political figure, then it is logical and functional to assume that they like that political figure. It won't always be true, but statistically it will, so it's a functional way to approach life. A controlled study in a lab is different, and interesting in its own way, but not that helpful for us here.
Of course, you never know somebody's mental state. If somebody regularly goes around saying things like "Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault" in all apparent sincerity, then it's reasonable to believe that the person thinks he is highly intelligent. Right? I mean, maybe not. Maybe the person thinks he's rather stupid, and it's all part of a big, lifelong, elaborately staged and never faltered puton, even though there's no benefit to staging such an elaborate hoax, and its questionable whether a person could even pull that off over the course of lifetime, or do so without coming to believe it. Sure. But, you know, Occam's razor. Herostratus (talk) 18:07, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
@Herostratus: When you make a truth claim that something is "manifested as a trait" you need evidence to support it, or it's just white noise. In Wikipedia it's worse. It completely disqualifies you because it's either original research or synthesis.
You have to ask yourself, these below average chess players and medical students exhibiting the DK effect, would they also overestimate their abilities as nascent car mechanics? Botanists? Plumbers? Brick layers? Judokas? You might say yes, but the reality is we don't know.
Even if you successfully discredited fundamental attribution error (good luck with that) it wouldn't "traitify" this bias. You're still completely out on a limb with your assertion that the dunning Kruger effect is a personality trait, and the content of articles doesn't turn on data-less claims made on talk pages. - Scarpy (talk) 16:30, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Donald Trump has just admitted that he did not know how that being President would be so difficult. "I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," he told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier." If that is not the definition of the Dunning Kruger effect I do not know what is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:04, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Text in question[edit]

In contempory politics

American president Donald Trump has been suggested as well-known current example of Dunning–Kruger effect.[1]

New York magazine wrote that US president Donald Trump's "combination of over the top blustering ('My IQ is one of the highest', he has claimed)[2] and obvious ignorance" demonstrate a classic manifestation of the syndrome, an assessment with which Dunning agreed ("one of the least prepared candidates in my lifetime, but also the most confident candidate. It seemed like the most public example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, or something that looked like the Dunning-Kruger effect, that I’d ever seen.").[3] Slate reported that "Trump is not merely ignorant. He is also supremely confident and feels superior — the most dangerous kind of idiot", this being "the psychological concept known as the 'Dunning-Kruger' effect — put very simply, when stupid people don’t know that they are stupid — in action",[4] while David Dunning himself, writing in Politico, noted that "the knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at that task. This includes political judgment... This syndrome may well be the key to the Trump voter — and perhaps even to the man himself [as] Trump himself also exemplifies this exact pattern, showing how the Dunning-Kruger Effect can lead to what seems an indomitable sense of certainty."[5]


  1. ^ William Poundstone (January 21, 2017). ""The Dunning-Kruger President"". Psychology Today. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ Donald Trump (May 8, 2013). "Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest". Twitter. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ Jessica Pressler (January 9, 2017). "Donald Trump, the Dunning-Kruger President". Science of Us. New York Magazine. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ Chauncey DeVega (September 30, 2016). "Idiocracy now: Donald Trump and the Dunning-Kruger effect — when stupid people don't know they are stupid". Slate. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  5. ^ David Dunning (May 26, 2016). "The Psychological Quirk That Explains Why You Love Donald Trump". Politico. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 

The text is in my view decently written and neutral. However it is somewhat long to be WP:DUE in this article. I would trim it and remove some of the lesser sources. For example the twitter-quote isn't entirely appropriate.

The fact that Dunning himself has singled out Trump is however very notable, and very much worthy of inclusion. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 11:07, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Just a side-note, there is also a large number of better sources that could be used (see for example: [1]). If I have time a will draft an alternative section for this article. It might also be appropriate to add a brief mention of Rodrigo Duterte who has received similar criticism. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 11:11, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - for the reason it was removed - This is not a political article but rather about psychology. Don't use such charged examples - this is an awful example of experienced wikipedia editors showing the apparent inability to care about WP:BLP and/or to follow WP:Policy and guidelines at all. Govindaharihari (talk) 06:36, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

Well, it's quite an interesting question, and there's a lot of things to consider here. One is WP:BLP; I have a some thoughts on that -- lengthy, so I'll collapse it to avoid overwhelming the discussion. Others may comment either inside or outside the collapsed section.

Comment. As sourced, it looks like the article should include mention of how the Dunning-Kruger effect is discussed and used outside of the sciences. Restricting this article to only to the psychology/sociology doesn't seem neutral. Whether Trump is brought up at all is secondary. --Ronz (talk) 17:03, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

Phhhht. Just saw another citation regarding "Trump is the personification of Dunning-Kruger". However, I'm no longer sure its a good idea to add him as an example here. Rather, Dunning-Kruger should be brought up in the Trump article. That is, rather than this article saying "Want to understand Dunning-Kruger? Two words: Donald Trump" (which might be OK), it'd be more useful to over at Donald Trump to say "Want to understand Trump? one word: Dunning-Kruger". However, this would be a contentious addition (although certainly with many reliable notable sources), and probably not worth the heavy lifting required. Pretty much everybody knows Trump's deal by now anyway, including people in Khazakstan. Herostratus (talk) 21:26, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

I personally don't think that there is anything wrong with using Trump as a real world example of a psychological concept. As long as the article doesn't fixate on him or his policies. i think that using him OR anyone else who qualifies as "the embodiment of this psychological concept" would be excellent because it takes this concept and puts it in real world context. not just like reading a psych textbook it actually engages the reader and basically has them say "oh thats what they mean" or "thats what that refers to." granted trump is high profile and "fresh" but he is a stellar example of this effect. I'm sure there are others out there and if they are discovered then they should be included as well. As stated at the beginning of my comment using someone as an example isn't something that should be shamed but embraced PROVIDED the article remains neutral and unbiased and holds true to the point of this article which is defining "Dunning-Kruger." as for the person who mentioned putting dunning-kruger on trumps page then what about all the university pages where notable alumni are listed? if your argument were to hold true then each of those pages should be re worked and that content should only be on the individuals page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:204:D504:B856:59D5:2ECF:3393:21BA (talk) 23:08, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, you make a good point. Since most everyone knows Trump and what his deal is, and since he is a living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect (and we have many good refs saying so), it would be service to the reader to say, basically, "to understand Dunning-Kruger effect, see Trump". It's just a plain fact, like saying that the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, and about as well documented by now. The problem is the political lifting required. The man is a well known politician with many supporters, some here, and they are the mind that the man is a modest genius or whatever (or anyway feel compelled to say so), because politics. It's probably not worth a big political fight over a minor issue like this. Herostratus (talk) 12:53, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I have to agree with "I'm no longer sure its a good idea to add him as an example here. Rather, Dunning-Kruger should be brought up in the Trump article." Shoe-horning Trump into this article is a) politicized, and b) a "this is topical right now but will looked dated and petty later" problem. This article is about the concept, which applies very, very broadly. It does not need a list of people allegedly exhibiting the problem, and we would not include one in any other such article.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:58, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

Weasel words?[edit]

See edit summary in this diff, and others around that time in the revision history.

Collapse opening volley, to facilitate productive discussion

What, specifically, have been the weasel words in this article? Just plain Bill (talk) 19:21, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

A reply

Dear Just Plain Bill, if you have to ask, then you are, indeed, out of your league. The “Harvard” of the Midwest failed you. Non the less, thanks for the entertainment.


Chas. Caltrop (talk) 01:22, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Well, since we're trotting out pedigrees, Charles, I went to the "Harvard" of Harvard, and from what I can see it's you who's out of his league. If you can contribute something constructive here about changes to the article, please do so; if not, then please move on. "Non" the less, thanks for the entertainment.
EEng 01:38, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, EEng. Caltrop, that was a juvenile outburst. Is that the way you want to present yourself in a discussion of your edits? Just plain Bill (talk) 01:57, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
It was a fair question that did not merit the uncivil response, Chas. Caltrop. WP:CIVILITY is a policy on Wikipedia, so consider yourself warned. Do better. El_C 06:59, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Returning to the question, which is appropriate, I guess Chas meant "most studies" was a weasel word. But actually "most" is pretty accurate and not as weaselly as "usually". --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:01, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
"Most studies" is not weasel at all if it was in fact "most studies". I also, must be out of Chas. Caltrop's splendid league since I see nothing in his edit that removed weasel. Neither do I understand what he imagines is the big joke is here. --Epipelagic (talk) 10:39, 10 June 2017 (UTC)


With the indulgence of everyone who has participated so far, I'd like to rephrase my question, obviously a rhetorical one inviting Chas. Caltrop to expand on his often laconic edit summaries. While I generally prefer terseness over walls of text, now could be a good time for considered verbosity.

What, specifically, have been the weasel words in this article, and what, in particular, have been the npov issues with the article? I am interested in Caltrop's views on this. Of course, this being a wiki article talk page, all good-faith input is welcome. Thanks, Just plain Bill (talk) 11:56, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

It's best to avoid generalization like "most", even if they're supportable. There's always a hint of WP:OR in the air when such constructions are used, because it's not likely that any editor of gaggle of editors reviewed every single reliable source, and are just making an assumption, albeit often a reasonable one. It is best to cite an actual literature review and quote it for any "most" claims about research matters. In the absence of one, it's better encyclopedia writing to simply devote text to the material that represents the real-world consensus viewpoint, with lots of citation, and then conclude (if pertinent to include it at all) with the contrary view, noted as contrary, and citing the particular source it comes from, without dwelling on it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:54, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

examples with data[edit]

The table on page 3 of this paper ("Positive Results by Discipline") strikes me as an interesting and possibly important type of example of DK in the sciences (used in public decision making) [edit: in case the link is lost, the title is: ‘‘Positive’’ Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences -- Daniele Fanelli]

Could the p.3 table be incorporated into this article?

(It would also be interesting (self-referential) to see a really hard nosed analysis of the quality of the statistical methods & reproduceability of the experimental evidence for DK itself. Can this be settled as one of the truly strongly supported effects known in psychology?) DKEdwards (talk) 16:27, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Programming and Debugging[edit]

During programming mistakes are made. During debugging those mistakes are supposed to be found. And they are, as long as they are solely wikt:Flüchtigkeitsfehler (german word, can't find the correct English translation). All those mistakes, which are there due to lack of knowledge/lack of skill, can only be identified by a person with better skills/higher knowledge but not by the original programmer. Years later, the same programmer, now with more experience and knowledge, will identify several of his own mistakes, those he made in the past, when he was less experienced. But maybe still not all mistakes…

While can easily measure the time somebody needs to run 100m, and even measure something called Intelligence quotient, how do we measure how good somebody is at programming???

Can a programmer realize, that he is incompetent?

  1. By comparing himself with other programmers, yes. In case other programmer can solve problems, which he cannot, he ought to realize, he is less competent! How //much// less, is harder to answer.
  2. Without the occasion(s) to compare himself with others, no… He ought to realize, that he cannot solve certain problems, but in that case he most probably lacks the ability to analyze the reason for that. How could he tell, whether he lacks intelligence or insight/knowledge/experience/talent/…, or whether those problems are unsolvable, without comparing himself with other humans?

How many people can even comprehend Fermat's little theorem? How many people can develop a theory, some kind of explanation, which explains the observations made by the Stern–Gerlach experiment? These are palpable questions, and anybody does realize, he cannot answer the question!

To be more general: most individuals, at some point in their life, met people, that seemed sooo stupid, and those people didn't seem to even realize, how stupid they were/behaved. Little children sometimes have funny ideas. So what?

David Dunning and Justin Kruger did exactly what, that deserve an "effect" to be named after them? We are all facing a dozen problems like the ones above, and unless we care to notice them and answer them all correctly, we //will// run around with half-assed ideas __without noticing it__. Where is the "effect"?

Lack of knowledge is lack of knowledge, carelessness is carelessness and lack of intelligence is that. Where is the "effect"? User:ScotXWt@lk 13:49, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

They measured a negative correlation between competence and overestimation of oneself. Yes, it is obvious, but still they were the first who measured it.
What exactly are you trying to achieve with your contribution? Please remember that the purpose of this page is discussing potential improvements to the article. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:40, 2 October 2017 (UTC)