Jump to content
joigus

Dunning-Kruger Effect Danger Zone

Dunning-Kruger topography  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Are there more danger zones (peaks) for the Dunning-Kruger effect than the know-nothing (or next-to-nothing) peak?

    • Yes
      1
    • No
      0


Recommended Posts

This topic has come up before in different threads, for reasons not hard to understand:

https://www.scienceforums.net/search/?q=Dunning-Kruger&quick=1

And there's at least one thread dealing with it:

Just a quick definition:

Quote

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.[1]

As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the bias results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

A visual aid:

Dunning-Kruger.jpg

My idea is that the topography of this curve is more complicated than it looks in the qualitative graph above.

My question: Are there more bumps along the curve? How can we be sure we're past the danger zone? Is there any reliable self-test?

How can you be sure you're not being "arrogant" like any run-of-the-mill crackpot, or in a milder form, like Heisenberg (“Only technical details are missing)”:

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/leading-figures/heisenberg-the-quantum-philosopher/

Or perhaps, entitled to be arrogant, like Einstein?:

Quote

Einstein has been quoted as describing what his reaction would have been if general relativity had not been confirmed by Eddington and Dyson in 1919: "Then I would feel sorry for the dear Lord. The theory is correct anyway." [9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddington_experiment#Immediate_impact

Or, in other words, are experts also susceptible to, say, a second-order Dunning-Kruger effect?

 

Edited by joigus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, joigus said:
Quote

Einstein has been quoted as describing what his reaction would have been if general relativity had not been confirmed by Eddington and Dyson in 1919: "Then I would feel sorry for the dear Lord. The theory is correct anyway." [9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddington_experiment#Immediate_impact

Or, in other words, are experts also susceptible to, say, a second-order Dunning-Kruger effect?

 

I suggest there is a difference between a quick 'off the cuff' response or something said 'in the heat of the moment' is the same as Dunning Kruger.

As I understand D-K (Strange they have the same initials as a famous publisher) the subject repeatedly and steadfastly pursues their own ideas to the exclusion of the thoughts and suggestions of others.
You have dealt with the exclusion part, but there is also the repeated  and steadfast part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, studiot said:

You have dealt with the exclusion part, but there is also the repeated  and steadfast part.

I must say you're right in that there is a time effect. Although some scientists too seem to go on a personal voyage to nowhere, after the "exclusion" is reached, and once they have acquired a level of reputation. Paid-their-dues stubborn effect, so to speak. Mmmm... There may be an age/experience side to it too.

Einstein is a very good example AAMOF. He spent quite a long time from his late years trying to falsify quantum mechanics. If that's not steadfast, I don't know what is.

 

Edited by joigus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, joigus said:

My question: Are there more bumps along the curve? How can we be sure we're past the danger zone? Is there any reliable self-test?

Mine is to assume I'm stupid, and I'm right 99% of the time; so it's no surprise when people laugh at what I say or do...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Mine is to assume I'm stupid, and I'm right 99% of the time; so it's no surprise when people laugh at what I say or do...

That's not a test; it's a working hypothesis.

Only stupids never assume they are (being one.) I know for sure I'm going to be stupid at least a couple of minutes a day. My main effort is to try and keep it within that minimum.

99% really? Com'on. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, joigus said:

99% really? Com'on.

At least, don't forget you're reading the edited highlight's (ask Eise or Inow, I'm really not very clever)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, joigus said:

Or perhaps, entitled to be arrogant, like Einstein?

ar·ro·gant
adjective: arrogant
  1. 1. having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.
Einstein did not have an exaggerated sense of his importance or abilities. He was very important. He was very good at physics. If you think Einstein was arrogant you are a poor judge of it.
 
For the record fear of arrogance is selfish, both in others and in oneself. If you had a strong moral character you would tolerate the discomfort of feeling inferior without lashing out, and if you believed you were onto something important you would peddle your idea without hesitation since your reputation would be of secondary importance. Prioritizing your reputation and excessively thinking about others' opinion of you is selfish since it interferes with productivity and progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eddington always struck me as 'arrogant'; not Einstein.

It seems the more you climb up the 'slope of enlightenment', the more you realize you're still in the 'valley of despair'.
( the more you learn, the more you realize just how much you still don't know )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Daniel Waxman said:

Einstein did not have an exaggerated sense of his importance or abilities. He was very important. He was very good at physics. If you think Einstein was arrogant you are a poor judge of it.

I didn't mean to say that Einstein was arrogant, and AAMOF I didn't. I said "entitled to be arrogant", implying a moment of self-indulgence in exaggeration, rather than a trait of the great scientist that he was. "Be" as in "don't be silly", not implying that the other person is silly, but that they're acting silly.

You're never "entitled to be" something you actually are: "You're not entitled to be French, Jean Jacques; so don't be!" Come on.

Another reason for misunderstanding may be that "arrogance" in its Latin roots (French arrogance, Spanish arrogancia, Latin arrogare= "claim") has, I've just found out, worse resonances in English than in Latin. For us Spaniards it just means "smugness". On the online Oxford Dictionary, eg., it's even worse than in your source:

Quote

 

arrogance

 noun

/ˈærəɡəns/

/ˈærəɡəns/[uncountable]

the behaviour of a person when they feel that they are more important than other people, so that they are rude to them or do not consider them.

 

Anyway, Einstein did say that, had the laws of physics been proven to disobey his theory, instead of what turned out, he would have thought that the "I would feel sorry for the dear Lord". In other words, "if God had disagreed with me, he would have been wrong." And yes, I understand that "God" was just a figure of speech for Einstein.

While I see some element of hyperbole or exaggeration there about his own abilities, it's a well-deserved one. Thereby my use of the words "entitled to be."

But maybe you're right and he was just communicating dispassionately and without any bit of smugness the cold reality of facts. Somehow, it doesn't sound like that to me.

OTOH, Einstein did spend more than 30 years just refusing to study quantum mechanics in any length, resisting to accept it, and working on a theory of the unified field that proved to be hopeless. The very fact that someone of the immense scientific stature of Einstein could engage in an episode like that, to me, proves that my point is in order.

Edited by joigus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, joigus said:

OTOH, Einstein did spend more than 30 years just refusing to study quantum mechanics in any length,

29 years, to be more precise.

1 hour ago, MigL said:

It seems the more you climb up the 'slope of enlightenment', the more you realize you're still in the 'valley of despair'.

I could hardly agree more. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, joigus said:

OTOH, Einstein did spend more than 30 years just refusing to study quantum mechanics in any length, resisting to accept it, and working on a theory of the unified field that proved to be hopeless. The very fact that someone of the immense scientific stature of Einstein could engage in an episode like that, to me, proves that my point is in order.

I think you are being results oriented. If Einstein had been proven correct in UFT we would be extolling his brilliance. Einsteins skepticism and refusal to accept the currently understood physics, Newton's theory of gravitation, is what allowed him to develop the theory of relativity. What is the third step of the scientific method? Hypothesize, which is a fancy word for guess. Brilliant men can make a wrong guess. Even Newton was wrong about his corpuscular theory of light. Does it mean Newton was arrogant? No, his completely wrong corpuscular theory stimulated thought and experiment on the nature of light which eventually proved the theory incorrect and in the process illuminated its true nature, chipping away at the marble just little more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Daniel Waxman said:

I think you are being results oriented. If Einstein had been proven correct in UFT we would be extolling his brilliance. Einsteins skepticism and refusal to accept the currently understood physics, Newton's theory of gravitation, is what allowed him to develop the theory of relativity. What is the third step of the scientific method? Hypothesize, which is a fancy word for guess. Brilliant men can make a wrong guess. Even Newton was wrong about his corpuscular theory of light. Does it mean Newton was arrogant? No, his completely wrong corpuscular theory stimulated thought and experiment on the nature of light which eventually proved the theory incorrect and in the process illuminated its true nature, chipping away at the marble just little more.

OK, Daniel. I see how you can think that. First, please believe me: I do not need to be reminded of Einstein's brilliance. But during the years when the likes of Fermi, Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit, Pauli, and Dirac, were getting spectacular results one after another (electron's spin, prediction of anti-particles, spin-statistics connection, etc.) it's not just that he made a wrong guess, it's that even long after 1926, he didn't seem to be paying much attention at all to what was going on around him, in the world of physics. While it's true that he was also busy with questions about singularities, cosmology, etc. within his theory, he did seem to turn a blind eye, to some extent, to the results that the quantum theory was accruing. The results were there, he didn't deny them, but for some reason he chose not to be driven by them in his pursuing of a unified theory. He became far more motivated by his theoretical grand scheme. How could that be? Had it happened to a second-rank mind, I would be less than half as surprised.

Picture a different Einstein sitting down to study the fundamentals of QM, adopting once again the attitude of a student. Saying to himself: "OK, I don't like this business of QM, but let's get inside it and see what's in it that I'm not getting." That's not what happened. Had Einstein let the formalism of QM become second nature to him, there is no doubt in my mind he would have found the deep epistemological principles that underlie it, instead of the half-digested understanding we've had that has brought so many decades of confusion. 

My question, really, was broader, and if the example of Einstein bothers you too much, feel free to ignore it. Please, let me rephrase it. When a scientist has been very successful, is there a risk that they become kind of smug, to the point of being a little bit unreasonable? To the point of being blinded by their previous success?

Edited by joigus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, joigus said:

OK, Daniel. I see how you can think that. First, please believe me: I do not need to be reminded of Einstein's brilliance. But during the years when the likes of Fermi, Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit, Pauli, and Dirac, were getting spectacular results one after another (electron's spin, prediction of anti-particles, spin-statistics connection, etc.) it's not just that he made a wrong guess, it's that even long after 1926

Einstein didn't 'guess'

In fact he was one of the founders of the quantum theory.  (1905)
This was of course long before a probabilistic explanation was suggested.
In any event the probabilistic wave theory has since been found inadequate/incomplete, though still able to provide calculation and prediction for some phenomena.
 

Quote

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/einstein-and-the-quantum/

Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.

I have underlined the appropriate words.

So he was actually correct.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/einstein-and-the-quantum/

Edited by studiot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, joigus said:

he chose not to be driven by them

Is this true? From what I know Einstein was more interested in understanding quantum mechanics itself than using a set of ad hoc quantum rules to construct models of particles and materials. From https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/opinion/sunday/quantum-physics.html:

Quote

In the 1920s there was a series of famous debates between Einstein and Niels Bohr, one of the founders of quantum theory. Einstein argued that contemporary versions of quantum theory didn’t rise to the level of a complete physical theory, and that we should try to dig more deeply. But Bohr felt otherwise, insisting that everything was in fine shape. Much more academically collaborative and rhetorically persuasive than Einstein, Bohr scored a decisive victory, at least in the public-relations battle.

Not everyone was happy that Bohr’s view prevailed, but these people typically found themselves shunned by or estranged from the field. In the 1950s the physicist David Bohm, egged on by Einstein, proposed an ingenious way of augmenting traditional quantum theory in order to solve the measurement problem. Werner Heisenberg, one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics, responded by labeling the theory “a superfluous ideological superstructure,” and Bohm’s former mentor Robert Oppenheimer huffed, “If we cannot disprove Bohm, then we must agree to ignore him.”

Around the same time, a graduate student named Hugh Everett invented the “many-worlds” theory, another attempt to solve the measurement problem, only to be ridiculed by Bohr’s defenders. Everett didn’t even try to stay in academia, turning to defense analysis after he graduated.

It seems more like Einstein was pushed out of the field rather than making an intentional choice to ignore it.

Edited by Daniel Waxman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Daniel Waxman said:

Is this true?

I was about to produce the letter to Max Born, but @studiot already linked to it:

1 hour ago, studiot said:

 

Quote

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/einstein-and-the-quantum/

Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.

I have underlined the appropriate words.

So he was actually correct.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/einstein-and-the-quantum/

A perhaps more open attitude, not exactly giving up on his idea, but apparently more keenly aware that he may have made a mistake, can be found in a testimony by John Wheeler:

Quote
Quote

A similar question was also asked once by Wheeler. In 1989, after Feynman’s death, he recalled: Visiting Einstein one day, I could not resist telling him about Feynman’s new way to express quantum theory.5 After explaining the basic ideas of Feynman’s path integral approach to Einstein, Wheeler recalls to have asked: “Doesn’t this marvelous discovery make you willing to accept quantum theory, Professor Einstein?” He replied in a serious voice, “I still cannot believe that God plays dice. But maybe,” he smiled, “I have earned the right to make my mistakes.5

 https://arxiv.org/pdf/0801.1654.pdf

I honestly cannot believe that one of the founders of the field (as Studiot mentions) could be pushed out of it by the new generation, led by Bohr. It's almost irresistible to think that Einstein thought that if that was the direction physics was going to follow, he didn't want any part of it, and so he signed his own eviction notice. He'd rather, to use a metaphor, start digging a tunnel somewhere else hoping he might eventually find another way from the other side of the mountain, and meet everybody else midway through the tunnel.

Edited by joigus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the late 20s, when the Quantum revolution was in full effect, A Einstein was 50 years old.
Well past the time when most ( if not all ) Physicists make ground-breaking contributions to the field.
Lets cut him some slack.

I nominate A Eddington as an arrogant SOB for how he treated S Chandrasekar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, MigL said:

By the late 20s, when the Quantum revolution was in full effect, A Einstein was 50 years old.
Well past the time when most ( if not all ) Physicists make ground-breaking contributions to the field.
Lets cut him some slack.

I nominate A Eddington as an arrogant SOB for how he treated S Chandrasekar.

I agree to leave Einstein alone for a while. He more than lavishly fertilized all of modern physics.

Now that you mention Chandrasekar, he apparently spent most of his last years studying implausible space-times. It seems that successful theorists spend their last years doing what they like, what they find beautiful, and lose interest in more pressing problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, joigus said:

It seems that successful theorists spend their last years doing what they like, what they find beautiful, and lose interest in more pressing problems.

Lol, I do that every day :D 
That’s one of the big positives about being just an amateur - there’s no obligation, pressure or expectation on us to deliver anything, so we are free to pursue what we like and find beautiful. I know for myself that I would not have performed very well in the pressurised environment of professional academia. I used to have a lot of regrets about not choosing that as a career path, but now I’m almost glad I didn’t.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Lol, I do that every day :D 
That’s one of the big positives about being just an amateur - there’s no obligation, pressure or expectation on us to deliver anything, so we are free to pursue what we like and find beautiful. I know for myself that I would not have performed very well in the pressurised environment of professional academia. I used to have a lot of regrets about not choosing that as a career path, but now I’m almost glad I didn’t.

That's a very big positive. The way I see it, academia advances in small steps. It is of course necessary, and immensely valuable. But perhaps the most significant big leaps are taken by people who are carefree, driven by an honest need to understand. They connect many more dots. They have time on their side.

That's what I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, joigus said:

That's a very big positive. The way I see it, academia advances in small steps. It is of course necessary, and immensely valuable. But perhaps the most significant big leaps are taken by people who are carefree, driven by an honest need to understand. They connect many more dots. They have time on their side.

That's what I believe.

Indeed, and it gives us all the hope that a carefree attitude can contribute...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.