Looking for evidence of the Dunning-Kruger effect: an analysis of 2400 online test takers

OpenPsych , Aug. 29, 2021, ISSN: 2597-324X


The Dunning-Kruger effect is a well-known psychological finding. Unfortunately, there are two aspects of the finding, one trivial, indeed a simple statistically necessary empirical pattern, and the other an unsupported theory that purports to explain this pattern. Recently, (Gignac & Zajenkowski, 2020) suggested two ways to operationalize and test the theory. We carried out a replication of their study using archival data from a larger dataset. We used two measures of self-estimated ability: estimated sumscore (correct responses), and estimated own-centile. We find no evidence of nonlinearity for either. We find evidence of heteroscedasticity for self-centile estimates, but not raw score estimates. Overall, the evidence was mostly inconsistent with Dunning-Kruger theory.

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intelligence, regression towards the mean, self-perception, Dunning-Kruger effect, self-estimated intelligence

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