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Dunning-Kruger Disease and the Impostor Syndrome
Good news, impostor syndrome sufferers.
You may be free of Dunning-Kruger disease.
The Dunning-Kruger effect
Wikipedia says the Dunning–Kruger effect is:
a cognitive bias in which people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.
It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability.
In plain language: people who don’t know how much they don’t know, think they know a lot more than they know.
Dunning and Kruger also found that competent people often are unaware of how competent they are relative to others. That’s because they are aware of a lot that they don’t know, they are aware of how competent their peers are, and because they don’t hang around incompetent people.
As a result, they tend to think they’re average, at best.
Dunning described the Dunning–Kruger effect as “the anosognosia of everyday life,” which is the coolest thing I’ve read today.
Dunning-Kruger disease, a term that I just made up, is the pathological condition incompetents believe they are competent.
DKD is the acronym for Dunning-Kruger disease. I also just made that up.
People with DKD are dangerous and should be quarantined for their own good and the good of society.
Wikipedia says Impostor syndrome is
a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.
People with DKD never suffer from impostor syndrome.
If you have even a mild case of impostor syndrome, it means you’re not suffering from Dunning-Kreuger Disease.
That’s a good thing.
Having impostor syndrome doesn’t mean you are competent, but it raises the probability that you are.
DKD may help explain why you don’t feel as competent as the people around you.
You can be aware of what the competent people around you know—and you can’t be as aware of what they don’t know. You, on the other hand, know both what you know and what you don’t know.
And the people around you with DKD?
They are entirely certain of their competence. Unless you look into their actual accomplishments, you may be taken in.