Unskilled & Unaware – the Kruger Dunning Model

Just read an article by Justin Kruger and David Dunning (1999) from Cornell University about the way that people who know less about a particular area overestimate their own skills and knowldge. Interesting also that further training helped people to perceive their limitations.

As Kruger and Dunning note in their abstract: “Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.”
Full text here

From Aide-mémoire

Reading – Vindication of the Rights of Women

Needed a break from reading Dante’s Inferno (I can only take so much of hell in one go) so I decided to re-read Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

It is very easy for us women in the western world to forget that, not so long ago, our kind were mere chattels. Only a hundred years ago women were unable to hold property, vote or live independently of men.

The rights that have been achieved by women are worth fighting to keep and, as Wollstonecraft argues so fervently, education is an essential foundation.

Quotation: Infringement of Human Freedom (Pitt the Younger)

Just came across an apt quotation for our times by William Pitt (the younger) from a speech in the House of Commons (November 18, 1783):

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

Pitt made this statement at a time when Britain had been at war for many years (they had only just signed the Treaty of Paris with US in September 1783). Interesting to think that the UK and US were enemies once.

Reading – The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Currently reading Dante’s Inferno in the Everyman edition of the The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso. It is one of those canonical classics that I’ve never bothered to read and is a fascinating journey through the circles of hell replete with rich language and classical allusions.

As I work my way through some DWM* classic reading material next on my reading list is Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Although it might be a while as the Divine Comedy is not small.

* Dead White Male


I am just obsessed with LOLcats at the moment – they make me laugh. The site is described as “the number one place to find all of your funny cat macros, memes and all round lolcats in one place on the web”. It really does have great lolcats (it’s weird as I’m usually a dog person)

grasshoppers – ning v. facebook?

Chris Brogan has been experimenting with a new social network called ‘grasshoppers’ – people helping people. He has created it in two places: Ning and Facebook (although it did seem to migrate through Google groups quite quickly on the way to Ning).

It will be interesting to see which one is preferred. I like Ning better as I’ve been participating in other groups on that platform and it is very easy to use.