Skilled or unskilled, but still unaware of it: How perceptions of difficulty drive miscalibration in relative comparisons

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 02/2006; 90(1):60-77. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.1.60
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT People are inaccurate judges of how their abilities compare to others'. J. Kruger and D. Dunning (1999, 2002) argued that unskilled performers in particular lack metacognitive insight about their relative performance and disproportionately account for better-than-average effects. The unskilled overestimate their actual percentile of performance, whereas skilled performers more accurately predict theirs. However, not all tasks show this bias. In a series of 12 tasks across 3 studies, the authors show that on moderately difficult tasks, best and worst performers differ very little in accuracy, and on more difficult tasks, best performers are less accurate than worst performers in their judgments. This pattern suggests that judges at all skill levels are subject to similar degrees of error. The authors propose that a noise-plus-bias model of judgment is sufficient to explain the relation between skill level and accuracy of judgments of relative standing.

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    • "In addition, Burson, Larrick, and Klayman (2006) demonstrated that task difficulty significantly restrains the accuracy of metacognitive judgments for both skilled (good performers) and unskilled students (poor performers). However, the results of Burson et al.'s (2006) study as well as the results of a study conducted by Hacker, Bol, and Bahbahani (2008) indicated that unskilled students are more likely to overestimate their performance than skilled students (for more details regarding the " unskilled-unaware hypothesis " , see Kruger & Dunning, 2002). It should, however, be mentioned that students base their judgments on subjective perceptions of task difficulty rather than on objective difficulty of the tasks. "
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    • "nts with high scores will . Therefore , they will appear to self - enhance more than the students with high scores will . Only for truly difficult tests—when the majority of partici - pants score low—will most participants appear to underesti - mate their position , with those who score high now making larger errors than those who score low ( cf . Burson et al . , 2006 ) ."
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