Thursday, June 28, 2012

I could do with a dose of Dunning-Kruger

After a pretty dire first half of the week I'm better again now. Last night only three of us attended the depression meet-up - two new faces and myself. One of the guys looked 25, wore a wedding ring and a thick black Krapmandu jacket, and promptly announced in his Aussie accent that he worked for Telecom. So I clearly had nothing in common with him at all. Except we got chatting and he turned out to be 34 and have rather similar experiences with depression and social anxiety as me. The other bloke was in his early fifties and his battle with depression wasn't too dissimilar to mine either.

I've almost finished Bad Science. It's all fascinating stuff, and it's presented in an entertaining and accessible way for people like me who aren't medical graduates. I find the Dunning-Kruger effect intriguing and very believable: basically it means incompetent people overestimate their abilities because they're too incompetent to recognise their incompetence! Competent people, according to Dunning and Kruger, tend to assess their level of proficiency more accurately. I think the reason why competent people estimate their level of competence more accurately is very simple: by and large people have quite high levels of self-confidence (I never cease to be amazed by just how self-confident some people appear to be). Most people tend to rate themselves as being above average at any given task (80% of people think they're above-average drivers) so those who actually are above average are justified in their assessment. I also reckon an element of "the more you know, the more you know you don't know" plays a part.

By the way, I'm one of the few who don't think their driving skill is above average. There a only a few things that I think I'm any good at, and those tend not to matter very much.

Work is going OK. I rate my level of competence in my job as average at best. I still despair at some of the letters we send out to our customers especially when we ask about medical conditions. Many of the letters are poorly written and show a distinct lack of sensitivity. However it's 2012 so nobody cares how you write as long as you get the message across, and in a large company it's best just to follow the process and not to ask questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment