top of page

Dunning-Kruger Effect: Definition, Examples and Effects

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias that affects people’s ability to accurately assess their own abilities and knowledge. It is named after two psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who first identified the phenomenon in 1999. The effect is disputed: some researchers argue that it merely a statistical artifact and has been debunked.

Definition: The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias in which people overestimate their own abilities and knowledge. This is due to a lack of self-awareness and an inability to recognize their own limitations. People who suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect are often unaware of their own incompetence or lack of knowledge.

Examples: The Dunning-Kruger Effect can be seen in many different situations. For example, someone who is not very knowledgeable about a certain topic may think they know more than they actually do. They may also be overly confident in their own opinions and be unwilling to consider other perspectives. Another example is someone who is not very skilled at a certain task, but believes they are an expert.

Effects: If the Dunning-Kruger Effect is real, it can surely have serious consequences. People who suffer from this cognitive bias may make poor decisions and be unable to recognize their own mistakes. They may also be overly confident in their own abilities and be unwilling to take advice from others. This can lead to a lack of progress and even failure.

It is important to recognize our own limitations. By doing so, we can avoid making poor decisions and be more open to advice from others.

Do you want to expand your knowledge on this topic? Read our full, in-depth article on cognitive biases.

Do you have extra 15 minutes today? Take our fun and interactive quiz to learn which of 16 reasoning styles you use, your overall level of rationality, and what you can do now to improve your rationality skills.


bottom of page