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Sep. 21st, 2003

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

(via technomom)

I collected a quote from the SF Chronicle about this (or a similar) study a while back, and the notion helped me understand vast landscapes of human behavior:
One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured...is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence. -- San Francisco Chronicle, 1-18-00
The study has some problems (e.g., I still don't think you can meaningfully rate whether someone is competent at humor, because that's so subjective), but overall it's fascinating.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
supergee
Sep. 22nd, 2003 04:40 am (UTC)
Malcolm Gladwell suggests that the traits that make executives unable to see their flaws may be the ones that attract corporations to them. (Story here.)

A dozen years ago, the psychologists Robert Hogan, Robert Raskin, and Dan Fazzini wrote a brilliant essay called "The Dark Side of Charisma." It argued that flawed managers fall into three types. One is the High Likability Floater, who rises effortlessly in an organization because he never takes any difficult decisions or makes any enemies. Another is the Homme de Ressentiment, who seethes below the surface and plots against his enemies. The most interesting of the three is the Narcissist, whose energy and self-confidence and charm lead him inexorably up the corporate ladder. Narcissists are terrible managers. They resist accepting suggestions, thinking it will make them appear weak, and they don't believe that others have anything useful to tell them. "Narcissists are biased to take more credit for success than is legitimate," Hogan and his co-authors write, and "biased to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their failures and shortcomings for the same reasons that they claim more success than is their due." Moreover:

Narcissists typically make judgments with greater confidence than other people . . . and, because their judgments are rendered with such conviction, other people tend to believe them and the narcissists become disproportionately more influential in group situations. Finally, because of their self-confidence and strong need for recognition, narcissists tend to "self-nominate"; consequently, when a leadership gap appears in a group or organization, the narcissists rush to fill it.

firecat
Sep. 22nd, 2003 09:22 am (UTC)
This is uncomfortably obvious to me after many years of poking in the OH's copy of Business Week.

"Uncomfortably" because I just don't understand why it isn't obvious to everyone else.

I think Martin Seligman may have part of the answer (as I suspect you know, one of his ongoing studies is of depression vs. optimism, and he declares that non-depressed people exhibit a mild psychosis of optimism).
louisedunn
Sep. 22nd, 2003 10:25 am (UTC)
Ever since I saw this story, I get paranoid as soon as I think I'm good at something.

I've definitely internalized the "pride goeth before a fall" idea, and this plays right into that.
femmediva
Sep. 22nd, 2003 10:42 am (UTC)
great link
I'd like to "borrow" it and post it on my journal. I need to read it more carefully before posting my feelings about it- other than to say it is really reflective of some of my current life events, relationships, realizations.

I couldn't comment on a couple of your last posts for some reason(was logged in), and am glad I can do so now.
firecat
Sep. 22nd, 2003 10:45 am (UTC)
Re: great link
borrow by all means.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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