(Total reading time: < 4 minutes)
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that warps our ability to judge our own competence. To put it very bluntly, stupid people tend to think that they are quite brilliant, because they are too stupid to tell that they are, in fact, stupid.
(Don’t worry, I know it’s a bit more subtle than that.)
How do you decide what restaurant to go to, which movie to see, what pants to wear today? And what about big and important decisions like what career-path to choose, where to settle down and buy a house or whether to have kids or not? To some extent every decision we make is based on predictions. We imagine what an evening at one restaurant would be like versus an evening at a different one and make our desicion based on where we imagine we will have more fun, get better food and other criteria.
Interestingly, there are some systematic mistakes we tend to make when we imagine such future events and this can lead us to making bad decisions. Dan Gilbert is a psychology professor and the author of Stumbling on Happiness, a book that I am currently reading and might have to add to my list of recommended books soon. Watch the video below to see Dan Gilbert talk about how we make decisions and where we go wrong. The video is very much worth seeing, not just for it’s interesting content but also because of Gilbert’s wit and charismatic delivery.