“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.”
I came across the Dunning-Kruger effect when studying cognitive biases at University. It’s fascinating.
The most common context for it is in job interviews, the Dunning-Kruger effect explains how people who are not qualified for or capable of jobs get them; simply through not knowing their limits and claiming they can do tasks beyond them. While on the other hand, an intelligent person applying for the same role would likely be more aware, and critical, of their limitations and more likely to raise them. Obviously this example doesn’t take other factors into account such as the candidate’s arrogance as well as the interviewer’s ability to detect bullshit.
The phenomenon is extremely interesting and, if you’re like me, you’ll start to notice its presence in other “how on Earth did they manage that…” situations. If you fancy it you can download the paper here (it’s so good it won an Ig Noble prize). Alternatively if you want the short version, here’s the wikipedia page.
image credit: I captured it from the paper.