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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:23 pm

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This article:

https://www.chemistryworld.com/opinion/ ... 07.article

seems to be saying that pop sci articles make non-scientists overconfident about their own expertise on scientific subjects... The research it is discussing was based on a very small sample size (73 people) but still food for thought as it suggests pop sci articles may be a factor in causing crackpottery!

One key quote I liked was:
Quote:
[the authors] wonder whether the emphasis in schools today on "thinking for yourself", laudable though it is in many ways, risks devaluing the importance of knowing your limitations.

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DrKrettin
Post  Post subject: Re: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:33 pm
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Sounds plausible, although I can't face having to register just to read one article.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:21 pm

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:44 am
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Ah, sorry, I thought it was a open access article...

You could always join the RSC for free access without registration ;)

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"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart"

- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:53 am
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Irony. The Effect itself got misinterpreted by pop science. Their study showed incompetent people don't rate themselves highly competent, only, they can't accurately report just how bad they are. The competent individuals meanwhile accurately rated their own performance.

So the Dunning-Kruger Effect isn't about overconfidence, i.e. idiots who think they're experts. It's about idiots knowing they're idiots, who can't expertly assess their own idiocy.
Quote:
there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know

That said, when I click your link PhDemon I get redirected to page of wistful ramblings about editing a magazine. I'm excluded from the science. So that article is a known unknown to me; I doubt my ability to speak competently about pop sci articles making non-scientists overconfident. But I can try.

;)



I think that which pop-sci dubs the Dunning-Kruger Effect - we mean: the bad believing it is very good - that's really an ignorance of precision or accuracy, or both; or ignorance of additional variables. For example if I measure a volume of liquid with a graduated cylinder, I could do it badly without knowing that. I'd just think "20mL, right on!" perhaps inappropriately using a dollar-store knockoff with 5mL scale because it's easier to read. All sorts of things may be estimated too roughly: the truly Dunning-Kruger businessman would wrongly think he'd made a sale, because he's oblivious to the fact he forgot to leave a business card. Providing a means of contact is one variable that doesn't occur to him. So he thinks he performed perfectly. By this principle incompetence could feed overconfidence. We shouldn't blame pop-science for that kind of overconfidence. And it must be a rare or weak effect - the Dunning-Kruger study didn't detect it.

What makes pop-science popular, IMO, is that it twists a finding into an interesting and often morally appealing message. That's in contrast to a conclusion that's simply common sense in hindsight. See how the Dunning-Kruger Effect got twisted by pop-science: in its correct form it's rather boring. The pop version doesn't even simplify the matter. It's wrong, but that wrongness feeds overconfidence no more than any other wrong theory. Climate change denial isn't true pop-science, for example, because it lacks the "just-so" quality and neither seeks to inspire a new understanding. The myth of trees screaming when cut is pop-science in pure form.

Have I said anything interesting?


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DrKrettin
Post  Post subject: Re: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:36 am
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Pong wrote:
Have I said anything interesting?


I think so. Something else interesting (perhaps) is that if you google the D-K effect, most of the hits now refer to President Trump. That was not the case a few months ago.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: Pop sci articles leads to the Dunning-Kreuger effect...  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:48 pm
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Oops. I'd said above the idiots knew they were idiots. I read the D-T paper again: everyone rated themselves above average.

Still maintain it doesn't show incompetence engenders overconfidence.


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