The well known Dunning-Kruger effect is oft cited as a general explanation for why people with limited expertise overestimate their abilities. Other than the initial research that described this cognitive bias, there seems to be little actual data to support it outside of a sit-down questionnaire or IQ test in a university setting. Driving is a well-known example (i.e. '80% of drivers consider themselves above average') although I note from a previous post, the evidence for the Dunning-Kruger effect in driving is mixed.

Is there any data to support the Dunning-Kruger in outside of a sit-down test performed by university students?

  • $\begingroup$ What's wrong with sit-down tests? To imply that sit down tests are not useful or representative seems a bit irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – Poidah Apr 25 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ Makes this question more a question about the validity of sit down tests rather than a Dunning-Kruger question. Do sit down tests reflect the skills and competencies that they aim to reflect or represent? $\endgroup$ – Poidah Apr 25 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for an excellent, well-researched question! Only saw it now, so a belated welcome to Psychology & Neuroscience! ;p $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris May 1 at 10:42

Yes, there are research showing a relationship between skills and not only "sit down tests". A systematic review by Madmood (2016) found "self-reported and demonstrated information literacy skills" supported the Dunning-Kruger phenomena. Demonstrated information literacy was from derived sources such as "observations, field notes, participant reflexive journals, expert grading of searching tasks, analysis of students’ theses, quizzes, and information related assignments".


Mahmood, K. (2016). Do People Overestimate Their Information Literacy Skills? A Systematic Review of Empirical Evidence on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Communications in Information Literacy, 10 (2), 199-213. https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2016.10.2.24

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate on the "self-reported and demonstrated information literacy (IL)"? As that is the crux of the question. Maybe a simple quote from the paper where these methods are explained. For example, isn't a sit-down questionnaire 'self-reported'? Just enough to understand it without having to read the full paper. Details of course can be deferred to the paper. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris May 1 at 10:43

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