Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence
Current Directions in Psychological Science (2003)
David Dunning
Cornell University
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Kerri L. Johnson
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Joyce Ehrlinger
Washington State University
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Justin Kruger
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Successful negotiation of everyday life would seem to require people to possess insight about deficiencies in their intellectual and social skills. However, people tend to be blissfully unaware of their incompetence. This lack of awareness arises because poor performers are doubly cursed: Their lack of skill deprives them not only of the ability to produce correct responses, but also of the expertise necessary to surmise that they are not producing them. People base their perceptions of performance, in part, on their preconceived notions about their skills. Because these notions often do not correlate with objective performance, they can lead people to make judgments about their performance that have little to do with actual accomplishment.

Contact for reprints
Dunning, D., Johnson, K.L., Ehrlinger, J. & Kruger, J. (2003). Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 83-86.