You are smart

Dunning-Kruger effect: why half-knowing people think they are particularly clever

According to Erbs, however, it is somewhat surprising that we often overestimate our contributions to negative results. For example, that we primarily attribute failure to failure. The reason: We focus primarily on ourselves, observe each other much more closely than our fellow human beings - solely because we can look deeper into ourselves than into our counterpart. "In this respect, the more people are involved in a group performance, the stronger the effect," emphasizes the Hamburg psychologist. The individualism of modern western society, in which one constantly compares oneself with one's fellow human beings, promotes the tendency to overestimate oneself.

Dangerous half-knowledge

Dunning and Kruger conclude that you quickly end up in a vicious circle of incompetence. Because half-knowing people tend to overestimate themselves and at the same time misunderstand the competence of others, they also do not see the need to further educate themselves and thus increase their competence.

So what can you do about your own overconfidence? The first step is to recognize that the much-cited common sense is often not enough to penetrate complex problems. It depends on self-reflection: on creating an awareness of the tendency within us to overestimate ourselves. That's easier said than done. A prominent example, as many psychologists agree, sat in the White House for years.