The ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’ describes a cognitive bias which results in incompetent people mistakenly believing they are much more capable than they are. The Wikipedia entry explains that ‘people suffering from the effect:
- tend to overestimate their own level of skill
- fail to recognize genuine skill in others and
- fail to recognize the ‘extremity of their inadequacies’. ‘
I have met a number of people who would comfortably meet those criteria.
My favourite part of the article is the example it gives of a bank robber who covered his face with lemon juice in the belief that it would prevent his face from being recorded on CCTV.
While some of us underestimate our abilities, it is somehow comforting to know that there are people with the equal and opposite problem. And that some of them are in prison.
Note: photo from Moritz Nie on Unsplash