Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the peak of mount stupid.

Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
  • fail to recognize their own lack of skill
  • fail to recognize genuine skill in others
  • fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy
  • only recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill, after they are exposed to training for that skill.
David Dunning and Justin Kruger had been inspired by a bank robber who mistakenly thought that by rubbing lemon juice on his face, it would make him invisible to security cameras. The robber had heard that lemon juice could be used to make invisible ink and assumed it would have the same effect on his face. The question, how can a person be so stupid led Dunning and Kruger to make a study of it. What they found was that the phenomenon was a universal principle. When people have little experience in something, they assume it is easy. From Wikipedia:
Although the Dunning–Kruger effect was formulated in 1999, Dunning and Kruger have noted earlier observations along similar lines by philosophers and scientists, including Confucius ("Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"), Bertrand Russell ("One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"), and Charles Darwin, whom they quoted in their original paper ("Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"). Geraint Fuller, commenting on the paper, noted that Shakespeare expressed a similar observation in As You Like It ("The Foole doth thinke he is wise, but the wiseman knowes himselfe to be a Foole."
By sheltering kids in schools from doing real things, we build their confidence on what has been called the peak of mount stupid. We also squelch their interests in further learning at the same time. The second chart shows the gradual rise in confidence level of American students from 1965 to 2010. As students have done less and less real in schooling, as wood shops, music and laboratory science have been cut, confidence has been sent on a steady rise. But in light of the Dunning-Kruger effect, is that a good thing?

In my wood shop today, I plan to finish boxes.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the opportunity to learn likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! I think you might be interested in the work of Dr. Root-Bernstein. He has done extensive research on the link between the development of arts and crafts as abocations and the achievement of scientific creativity and eminence. You can find his works via Google scholar.