The Conversation

President Mario Mendoza

For the first time in my adult life I am proud of our shiftless layabout.

And speaking of incompetents.

Biden has a well-earned reputation as a gaffe-maker extraordinaire, and this speech was no exception. In a key passage on the Eurozone debt crisis, Biden referred to Portugal, as Poland, a mistake subsequently corrected in the official White House transcript: “We have seen positive steps recently to address the eurozone crisis, with the European Central Bank pledging to stand behind countries willing to launch reforms, and with Greece, Ireland, Poland* [*sic-Portugal], Spain and Italy all taking important steps to put their economies on a sounder path."

Biden famously believes himself to be possessed of a high IQ. A coblogger of mine, @rdbrewer4, is fond of pointing out the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. David Dunning and Justin Kruger conclude, "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".

Or, in short: Too dumb to know you're dumb; too ignorant to know all the things you don't know.


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