December 8, 2023

Monty Python icon John Cleese had to say about Marjorie Taylor Greene yesterday: “He is a perfect example of someone who is not intelligent enough to realize that he is not very intelligent. Hence her huge self-confidence. Unfortunately, her supporters are even less intelligent than she is. Hence their trust in her.” It turns out that, as Cleese further explains in the video above, there’s a scientific term for the MTG condition — the Dunning-Kruger effect, “a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals, suffering from an illusory superiority, mistakenly rate their abilities as much higher, than is accurate” due to the “metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their incompetence” (and for the same reason “highly skilled individuals underestimate their relative competence, mistakenly believing that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others”). This condition it gets its name from Cornell University researchers Justin Kruger and David Dunning, the latter of whom Cleese—who spent time at Cornell as a long-term visiting professor—counts as a friend.Learn more about the Dunning-Kruger effect here.

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