The Dunning–Kruger effect states that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, while people with high ability underestimate their own.

Such bias results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their level of competence. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias where people with little expertise assume they have superior expertise. Republicans tend to be less educated than Democrats according to research, making them possibly more vulnerable to the Dunning-Kruger effect, which has made it easier for Donald Trump to deliver unchallenged falsehoods to his supporters, like his big lie about voter fraud that lost him the re-election, without a fiber of evidence. Quite the opposite, and funny that some Republicans have been caught voting for dead relatives, although not enough to make any impact.

Trump’s followers keep demonstrating the DK effect over and over again, while Trump thrives on it. We saw it in all its ugliness on Jan. 6, we see it where teachers, school board members and parents are being threatened and attacked because of mask mandates, and we see it even in Congress where Republican reps say the stupidest things. And how can the opinion so often expressed, that Trump is the best president ever, while President Obama was the worst ever — an opinion worth as much respect as opining that 2+2=5.

Jorg Aadahl

San Mateo

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(21) comments


Forget DK. Pavlov would like this exchange.


I think the Dunning–Kruger effect perfectly describes your letter.


Your nice try aside, Ed, isn’t it obvious that your idol, Trump, is a prime example of what Dunning-Kruger categorizes as a low-info, know-nothing character, who brags about being an expert on everything? Remember how embarrassing it was for most of the country when he bragged publicly about being able to remember 5 simple little words, - even in the right order? The whole world laughed at that, - except his embarrassed countrymen, - and his proud supporters.


Under Trump economic growth approached it highest level in decades. Black and Hispanic unemployment dropped to the lowest levels ever and medium incomes increased to the highest levels ever. Biden's numbers are only high because we're recovering from COVID. No less than the avowed socialist economist Paul Krugman predicted in teh New York Timesthat Trump's economic policies would cause a global recession - they did just the opposite until COVID hit.


Ed: Where in the world do you get your numbers from? Average annual GDP growth under Trump was 1.03%, the lowest since Hoover, and -3.5% for his last year in office. President Obama’s average was 1.59% and 1.7% for his last year, both badly affected negatively by his first year, suffering for what he inherited after Bush, while Trump inherited a very good first year after Obama, with a 2.3% growth rate


GDP growth under Trump had reached 3% in 2018 and averaged 2.6% until the COVID shut down in 2020 caused a - 3.7% loss. That’s far better than Obamas highest two year average of 1.7%.


Oh, Ed, you need a crash course in basic arithmetic! Trump’s average GDP, excluding the last negative year, is 2.5, not 2.6. And why do you pick President Obama’s lowest 2 years for comparison, instead of his highest, which averages out to 2.85, higher again than Trump’s. That’s Trumpian dishonesty at its best! And again, don’t forget that Trump benefited from inheriting a thriving economy after President Obama, who again suffered greatly by what he inherited from the previous incompetent Republican occupant of the WH. You also brush lightly over Trump’s big loss for 2020, when he suffered from his own incompetent handling of the Covid pandemic, - like the rest of the country! When do we realize that Republican administrations are bad for the country?

Terence Y

Actually, I'd highlight the more interesting JUNC (Jorg’s Usual Non-responsive Claptrap) effect. It is defined by someone with such a severe case of sophomania that they’re incapable of recognizing it, although most everyone else does. Ones with this ailment tend to paint themselves into corners and then try to scurry every which way when questions are asked of them. Some may say it’s akin to bobbing and weaving. Close, but an unfortunate variant - instead of avoiding blows they continue to step into them, with no defense other than personal attacks and continual (and laughable) avoidance. As readers peruse comments, they’ll see Jorg has the most severe case, but there are a few others – easily spotted after following a few rounds of comments and looking for responses to easy questions. Fortunately, after recognizing the JUNC effect, you can discard their assertions. Another indication is the generous use of exclamation marks scattered throughout their posts.

Ray Fowler

Well said, Terence.

(Sigh) Yet, another book report masquerading as commentary. I have decided to avoid engaging a couple of lefties who appear regularly in these pages. That being said, I do enjoy some lively banter with a couple of DJ readers (from both sides of the aisle) in a different venue. Those outside exchanges are healthy, respectful, and fun. When we're finished debating a current event, we'll tip our hats to each other and move on.

Back to the lefties mentioned earlier... Is TDS real? Psychiatrists and clinicians will say "no," but there is no denying that a fear and/or hatred of all things Trump is disturbing some lefties to the point that their fear and hatred are affecting cognition and emotional well being. That's actually sad.

I'm not a mental health expert, but I would not be surprised to see TDS discussed in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders" when the sixth edition is published.

Ray Fowler

Terence... one more thing

Check the comments following Rudy Espinoza Murray's column published yesterday. Rudy and I are diametrically opposed on some issues, however, we can exchange our opinions respectfully and artfully. I like that about Rudy.

There was some push back to Rudy's op-ed piece from the right side of the aisle. Know what was missing? Readers who disagreed with Rudy were not calling for the DJ to cancel Rudy or censor him. However, we have seen over and over again lefties calling for the silencing of conservative voices. Again, I'm not a mental health expert but it would seem to me that trying to silence someone just because that someone has a different point of view points to disturbed thinking and perhaps unbalanced emotions. Maybe.

See ya at the Big Game...

Terence Y

Ray - thanks for the pointer. I admire that you can exchange your opinion respectfully and artfully with many others, occasionally with a dash of humor. You’re also very good at painting people into corners, without those folks realizing their floor space is rapidly decreasing without an exit. Unfortunately, you run into the same issue many of us do, crickets when we ask even the simplest of questions. And most of those questions revolve around unbound hypocrisy. I only wish I had the same amount of patience that you exhibit. I was brought up to treat people the way people have treated you. The Golden Rule, isn’t it? Or some variant? Keep up the great work. Although I currently don’t have the patience, I am learning from your writing style.

Regarding pushback between the right and the left, I’ve noticed that folks on the left, especially the rabid left, have lost their senses of humor. Perhaps TDS has replaced that part of their brain. We know they understand humor, as they’ve experienced Obama and are currently experiencing Biden.



I reread the letter from Jorg, and his comment above, and I could not find any exclamation points! BTW, how are you doing with your bamboo fibers?

Terence Y

Dear readers, as you can see, a few others here exhibiting the JUNC effect. If you really want to get their dander up, ask them for a bumbling Biden accomplishment. The only ones they try to pass off are dubious accomplishments, of which Rel and Jorg are attempting to display. Other than that, a giant goose egg.

As for my friend Taffy - Jorg may be a bit bashful after being exposed for the practice, or perhaps overuse has damaged his keyboard key. After all, I notice the number 1 doesn’t appear in his posts, either. It is telling that you have an exclamation point in your post…

Dirk van Ulden

Well Jorg - what have the so-called more educated Democrats done for us lately? Inflation at record highs, gasoline $2 bucks more, millions of illegals over the border, a disastrous withdraw from Afghanistan, a cackling VP and a thoroughly morose president, complete fools for AG, Home Land Security, Transportation, etc, Let's stick with the uneducated masses please.


Dirk: Yes, still a long way to go, but despite compact Republican obstruction, we are recovering after the disastrous Trump period, which again was a huge setback after President Obama’s recovery from the previous Republican mess. Seeing a pattern here? When will we learn?


Under Trump economic growth approached it highest in decades, black and hispanic unemployment dropped to the lowest levels ever and medium incomes increased to the highest levels ever. Biden's numbers are only high because we're recovering from COVID.


Mr. Kahl,

A friendly reminder that Trump's economy was due to the solid economy from Obama that was in place when he took office. He didn't have to salvage the economy that was in the dumps due to Bush 43.


Dirk, here is what the Democrats and Biden have done for us lately: American Rescue Plan which has lifted millions of children out of poverty; millions of people vaccinated against Covid in record timing; passed an infrastructure bill; reverse the Paris accord to be in line with the rest of the world on climate change; and finally, brought normalcy and diplomacy to our government. The Republicans, who had full control of government for the first two years of Trump could do only two things: pass a tax bill for the rich costing the government trillions in debt; and packing the Supreme Court.

You seem to be proud to belong to the uneducated masses and your comments indicate such. Democrats have little to do with gas prices (the world is suffering the same); inflation is from supply and demand having little to do with government control; the withdrawal from Afghanistan was long overdue; and your comment about the VP paints you decidedly misogynistic.

Dirk van Ulden

Come on Rel - do you really believe what you are posting? None of Biden's achievements have resonated with anyone and believe me, as far as our allies are concerned, he and the VP are a big joke. Even if you were as educated as Jorg alleges as Democrats are, you can't be serious and I will stack my education anytime against yours, or Jorg's for that matter.


Dirk: We are not talking about your education, nor mine, which you so bravely classify down at your level, without the slightest idea of what you are talking about. Neither do you know what you are talking about when it comes to President Biden’s respect and accomplishments, including passing an infrastructure bill in just a few months, while Trump failed to pass what he at times bragged about weekly! Why don’t you educate yourself on current affairs?

Ray Fowler

Hey, Dirk...

You are the man in the arena... surrounded by cold and timid souls.

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