The Dunning-Kruger Effect May Help Explain Trump's Support

A new study suggests some people grossly overestimate their political knowledge.

Posted Aug 22, 2018

In the past, some prominent psychologists have explained President Donald Trump’s unwavering support by alluding to a well-established psychological phenomenon known as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” The effect is a type of cognitivebias, where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. This simple but loopy concept has been demonstrated dozens of times in well-controlled psychology studies and in a variety of contexts. However, until now, the effect had not been studied in one of the most obvious and important realms—political knowledge.

new study published in the journal Political Psychology, carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, not only found that the Dunning-Kruger effect applies to politics, it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are made more salient. In other words, those who score low on political knowledge tend to overestimate their expertise even more when greater emphasis is placed on political affiliation.

Anson told PsyPost that he became increasingly interested in the effect after other academics were discussing its potential role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on social media. “I follow a number of political scientists who marveled at the social media pundit class’ seeming display of ‘Dunning-Kruger-ish tendencies’ in their bombastic coverage of the election.” However, speculation by scientists does not always translate into statistically-significant findings, so Anson began thinking of ways to experimentally test what he described as a “very serious accusation.”

In order to have a large representative sample of subjects, Dr. Anson administered online surveys to over 2,600 Americans. The first survey was designed to assess political knowledge, while the second was used to examine how confident they were in their knowledge. Questions quizzed participants on topics like names of cabinet members, the length of term limits for members of Congress, and the names of programs that the U.S. government spends the least on.

As predicted, the results showed that those who scored low on political knowledge were also the ones who overestimated their level of knowledge. But that wasn’t all. When participants were given cues that made them engage in partisan thought, the Dunning-Kruger effect was made even stronger. This occurred with both Republicans and Democrats, but only in those who scored low on political knowledge to begin with.

These findings are fascinating but equally troubling. How do you combat ignorance when the ignorant believe themselves to be knowledgeable? Even worse, how do you fight it when America is becoming increasingly polarized, which certainly increases the salience of partisan identities?

While the results of Anson’s study suggest that being uninformed leads to overconfidence across the political spectrum, studies have shown that Democrats now tend to be generally more educated than Republicans, possibly making the latter more vulnerable to the Dunning-Kruger effect. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll released in March of this year found that 54 percent of college graduates identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, compared to 39 percent who identified or leaned Republican.

This effect may help explain why certain Trump supporters seem to be so easily tricked into believing proven falsehoods when the President delivers what have become known as “alternative facts,” often using language designed to activate partisan identities. Because they lack knowledge but are confident that they do not, they may be less likely than others to actually fact-check the claims that the President makes.

This speculation is supported by evidence from empirical studies. In 2016, an experiment found that 45 percent of Republicans believed that the Affordable Care Act included “death panels,” and a 2015 study similarly found that 54 percent of Republican primary voters believed then-president Barack Obama to be a Muslim.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is particularly worrisome when considering issues that pose existential threats, like global warming. A 2017 study conducted at the University of New Hampshire, for instance, found that only 25 percent of self-described Trump supporters believed that human activities contribute to climate change—though 97 percent of scientists who study climate change agree that they do.

This quirky cognitive bias could potentially be making it easier for Donald Trump to say unchallenged falsehoods to his more uneducated followers. In some cases, not only are these individuals uninformed, they are unlikely to ever try to become more informed on their own. In their minds, they have nothing new to learn.

While such a thought is disturbing, we should not lose all hope in trying to reach the victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect. At least one study found that incompetent students increased their ability to accurately estimate their class rank after being tutored in the skills they lacked. With the right education methods and a willingness to learn, the uninformed on both sides of the political aisle can gain a meta-awareness that can help them perceive themselves more objectively.

Unfortunately, Anson’s study shows that getting through to these people becomes more and more difficult as the nation becomes more divided. And with Trump’s fiery rhetoric and fear-mongering, that divide appears to always be growing wider.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.co...3akMrzj-lmXBwSMpxoCc

Original Post

You mean like the false narrative that ANTIFA is an anti fascism organization or that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is intelligent?  Anyone with a education can see ANTIFA is violent against anyone who does not share their beliefs and do not tolerate them, sort of like Fascist.  Well all anyone has to do is listen to the new House Representative and know she does not have a clue.  Seems liberals have the Dunning Kruger effect.

HIFLYER2 posted:

You mean like the false narrative that ANTIFA is an anti fascism organization or that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is intelligent?  Anyone with a education can see ANTIFA is violent against anyone who does not share their beliefs and do not tolerate them, sort of like Fascist.  Well all anyone has to do is listen to the new House Representative and know she does not have a clue.  Seems liberals have the Dunning Kruger effect.

The recent doxxing of an Antifa leader was quite enlightening.  One, Joe Alcoff had two other nom de guerres he operated under.  He's a communist, who advocates for extreme violence.  Works with Democrat politicians, was interviewed on MSNBC, and writes for several national publications.  His CV reads like that of an 1960s radical -- traveled internationally to work with other reds. 

nice democrat article or study?   This is true, however it goes both ways.  Many follow democrat leaders blindly.  Republicans in congress don't just follow the party, while democrats stick together and vote their party line (with the exception of WV).  There seems to be several republican elected that might actually be democrats in disguise, such as Flake and Romney for example.  

With that said, many people fall into that a bit of knowledge but not the whole story.  The difference being the thinking process (common sense).  Democrat media still hasn't figured out how their polls were wrong, or they don't care and continue to push their agenda. 

Mr. Hooberbloob posted:

To be a liberal, you must first be uninformed.  Secondly, you must remain uninformed.  Thirdly, you must vote for those among you who are the most uninformed.

When we are born, we are tabula rasa -- a blank slate.  Most of us learn and grow in intellect and some of us remain Democrats. 

direstraits posted:
Mr. Hooberbloob posted:

Roaring economy, low unemployment, real action on illegal immigration, ISIS decimated, liberals losing their minds (ok I'm assuming they have brains, but I could be wrong).

What's not to like about Trump?

Add, rising wages

And my personal happiness.  TDS is a hoot to watch in all of it's magnificent glory.

 

Image result for trump derangement syndrome

What none of the Republicans seem to realize, is they're backing up the facts in the article with every post. Why do the most uninformed voters believe they are the most intelligent voters. Not knowing you don't have a grasp on the facts, but constantly trying to explain why Republicans are right. It's the Republican way.

L. Cranston posted:

What none of the Republicans seem to realize, is they're backing up the facts in the article with every post. Why do the most uninformed voters believe they are the most intelligent voters. Not knowing you don't have a grasp on the facts, but constantly trying to explain why Republicans are right. It's the Republican way.

LOL, conversely, uniformed voters post meaningless articles that were written solely to fit an agenda outcome rather than a factual outcome.  Not one person on her is trying to "explain" why Republicans are right.  The wonderful state of our nation since Trump took office does that job nicely, not a word needs to be spoken.

 

Now descend back into the basement from which thou came and patiently wait for the next round of Bagel Bites that your mom will soon deliver, I'm sure.

L. Cranston posted:

What none of the Republicans seem to realize, is they're backing up the facts in the article with every post. Why do the most uninformed voters believe they are the most intelligent voters. Not knowing you don't have a grasp on the facts, but constantly trying to explain why Republicans are right. It's the Republican way.

What I've asked of any liberal for the past 3-4 years was to explain 
why they were liberal, just a few tenets of their reasons of choice
or were they born that way. Appears liberals not sure why or it's a
secret. 
It's not that Republicans are right but the only logical way of life is
the conservative way.    

 

L. Cranston posted:

What none of the Republicans seem to realize, is they're backing up the facts in the article with every post. Why do the most uninformed voters believe they are the most intelligent voters. Not knowing you don't have a grasp on the facts, but constantly trying to explain why Republicans are right. It's the Republican way.

Lamont, 

I've viewed the activities of three Democrat politicians presently in the news.  Their views are out of touch with reality. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is currently the new thing with the press.  Despite an economics major, she has no idea what basic economics statistics represent.  She advocates numerous utopian dreams, but no idea how to finance them. For example, her Medicare for all plan would require a doubling of federal revenues -- not just income tax, but Medicare and Social Security taxes.  Just a back of the envelope schedule shows all her plans would devour the entire annual GDP of the nation.  AOC has an excuse.  She's the perfect example of an example of liberal progressive education -- with no experience in the real world.

Governor Newsom, the new California governor, advocated sanctuary and medical care for all who enter the state.  Emphasized their rainy day fund of $30 billion.  Trouble is that's a projected surplus, not an actual one. Even if true, that's about 22 days operating funds for the state.  Advocated for a state bank to support new housing.  Sorry, but under the constitution, states can only have their own banks if they have a gold depository.  Texas is the only state with such. California has 12 percent of the nation's population and 33 percent of the nation's homeless and those under the poverty line.  Newsom's plans will ensure all those statistics go up.  Plus, probably change the state's credit rating from the second worse to the worst.  They will be one with Illinois.  

Comrade de Blasio, mayor of NYC, announced a similar healthcare for all plan.  Are you old enough to remember when NYC lurched from loan to loan to avoid bankruptcy, until Giuliani was elected.  Well, those days will return. 

Dire,

What you fail to realize is that extremists exist on both sides of the political spectrum. For every example you provide of an extreme Democrat, I can provide an extreme Republican to match. What good does that do? What exactly do we gain from writing long posts, which nobody cares to read, about politicians who haven't the concept or ability to help their constituents? The facts show Democrat's policies are not affordable without major tax increases. The facts also show Republican policies of Trickle Down Economics have lead to every major recession the US has faced.

Where are the days where moderate, level headed, sensible Democrats and Republicans made compromises and Americans ALL flourished!

L. Cranston posted:

Dire,

What you fail to realize is that extremists exist on both sides of the political spectrum. For every example you provide of an extreme Democrat, I can provide an extreme Republican to match. What good does that do? What exactly do we gain from writing long posts, which nobody cares to read, about politicians who haven't the concept or ability to help their constituents? The facts show Democrat's policies are not affordable without major tax increases. The facts also show Republican policies of Trickle Down Economics have lead to every major recession the US has faced.

Where are the days where moderate, level headed, sensible Democrats and Republicans made compromises and Americans ALL flourished!

As to facts, of the Democrats I've cited, one is new, untried and ignorant of economics -- AOC.  The other two, Newsom and de Blasio, are experienced politicians, with years of experience.

As to trickle down -- when JFK used "a rising tide raises all boats" Democrats hailed it.   There are three examples of reducing taxes, resulting in significant revenue increases. None lead to major recessions. The reductions under JFK/LBJ and Reagan lead to economic booms.  The one under George W. Bush did not lead to the recession that followed. Over a decade of loosening credit, injection of a trillion dollars for iffy home loans by Fannie and Freddie, and inducements by government and banks lead to that recession.

Tax revenue changes, before and after tax cuts (corrected for inflation).

For the eight years after JFK/LBJ cuts – increase of $522.2 billion.

For the eight years after Reagan tax cuts – increase of $2.944 trillion.

For the eight years after Bush tax cuts – increase of $4.788 trillion

Source:  Office of Management and Budget historic tables.

https://obamawhitehouse.archiv...b/budget/Historicals

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