The Curious Psychological Phenomenon Explaining Why Those With Lesser Ability Overrate Their Skills

In a mordant lesson for Ted-Ed written by educator David Dunning and animated by Russell Etheridge, Allen Lasseter, Ezequiel Matteo, Andrew Embury and Wednesday Studio, narrator Addison Anderson explains the premise behind the Dunning–Kruger effect.

This curious psychological phenomenon states that individuals with lesser skill at a particular task have a tendency to greatly exaggerate their ability to accomplish the task. Even further, these individuals can harbor self-imposed illusions of their perceived superiority over others.

Psychological research suggests that we’re not very good at evaluating ourselves accurately in fact we frequently overestimate our own abilities…on average people tend to rate themselves better than most in disciplines ranging from health leadership skills ethics and beyond. What’s particularly interesting is that those with the least ability are often the most likely to overrate their skills to the greatest extent.

The great John Cleese quite succinctly explains the Dunning-Kruger Effect in his distinctly dry manner.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.