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The Dunning–Kruger effect meets the Kates effect

May 28, 2016

Honestly, what can one do with a story like this: Obama: World Leaders ‘Rattled’ by Trump’s ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Cavalier Attitude’. The following, please note, is in quotation marks and the person quoted is Obama!

“They’re rattled by him — and for good reason — because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous, and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.”

I found this quote at Instaundit where I also discovered the “Dunning–Kruger effect” which is new to me as a named psychological syndrome but very straightforward as a frequent picture of reality.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their own ineptitude and evaluate their own ability accurately.”

Someone must also make a study of the related effect – call it the Kates effect – which I describe as follows. We are here discussing a syndrome that often affects the media and academics studying in the social sciences and humanities:

The Kates effect is cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons are believed to have superiority abilities, where the minimal abilities they do have are mistakenly assessed to be much higher than they really are. Kates attributes this bias to a metacognitive inability of the similarly unskilled to recognize ineptitude in others because of a deep desire to escape reality and live in a fantasy world of their own construction.

Obama is delusional but he really is the president. The more remarkable form of insanity – the Kates effect discussed above – is found among those who feed these delusions with affirmations that permit those delusions to persist, sometimes for as long as eight years.

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