A growing body of psychology research shows that incompetence deprives people of the ability to recognize their own incompetence. To put it bluntly, dumb people are too dumb to know it. Similarly, unfunny people don't have a good enough sense of humor to tell.
This disconnect may be responsible for many of society's problems.
With more than a decade's worth of research, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has demonstrated that humans find it "intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don't know." Whether an individual lacks competence in logical reasoning, emotional intelligence, humor or even chess abilities, the person still tends to rate his or her skills in that area as being above average.
Read it at Life's Little MysteriesIncompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It
by Natalie Wolchover | Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)
This research suggests that the wisdom of crowds may be an urban legend and that the effectiveness of crowd sourcing is significantly diminished by the average level of competence of the crowd.
Along the same lines, people who aren't talented in a given area tend not to be able to recognize the talents or good ideas of others, from co-workers to politicians. This may impede the democratic process, which relies on citizens having the capacity to identify and support the best candidate or policy.
Since democracy is based on majority rule, the average level of competence is determinative. The question then become whether the average level, which could be called "collective consciousness, is high enough in complex societies operating in complex environments for the level of decision making required to survive and progress efficiently and effectively. To the degree that this is not the case, then collective consciousness is a drag on society. This argues in favor of the view that a high priority for a democracy is raising the general level of education
BTW, has anyone else noticed that the discussion is becoming more "philosophical," in the sense of being concerned with key fundamentals that deal with the whole of life and experience?