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Showing posts with label Dunning-Kruger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dunning-Kruger. Show all posts

Saturday, September 16, 2023

A Metacognitive Blindspot in Intellectual Humility Measures

Costello, T. H., Newton, C., Lin, H., & Pennycook, G.
(2023, August 6).


Intellectual humility (IH) is commonly defined as recognizing the limits of one’s knowledge and abilities. However, most research has relied entirely on self-report measures of IH, without testing whether these instruments capture the metacognitive core of the construct. Across two studies (Ns = 898; 914), using generalized additive mixed models to detect complex non-linear interactions, we evaluated the correspondence between widely used IH self-reports and performance on calibration and resolution paradigms designed to model the awareness of one’s mental capabilities (and their fallibility). On an overconfidence paradigm (N observations per model = 2,692-2,742), none of five IH measures attenuated the Dunning-Kruger effect, whereby poor performers overestimate their abilities and high performers underestimate them. On a confidence-accuracy paradigm (Nobservation per model = 7,223 - 12,706), most IH measures were associated with inflated confidence regardless of accuracy, or were specifically related to confidence when participants were correct but not when they were incorrect. The sole exception was the “Lack of Intellectual Overconfidence” subscale of the Comprehensive Intellectual Humility Scale, which uniquely predicted lower confidence for incorrect responses. Meanwhile, measures of Actively Open-minded Thinking reliably predicted calibration and resolution. These findings reveal substantial discrepancies between IH self-reports and metacognitive abilities, suggesting most IH measures lack validity. It may not be feasible to assess IH via self-report–as indicating a great deal of humility may, itself, be a sign of a failure in humility.


IH represents the ability to identify the constraints of one’s psychological, epistemic, and cultural perspective— to conduct lay phenomenology, acknowledging that the default human perspective is (literally) self-centered (Wallace, 2009) — and thereby cultivate an awareness of the limits of a single person, theory, or ideology to describe the vast and searingly complex universe. It is a process that presumably involves effortful and vigilant noticing – tallying one’s epistemic track record, and especially one’s fallibility (Ballantyne, 2021).

IH, therefore, manifests dynamically in individuals as a boundary between one’s informational environment and one’s model of reality. This portrait of IH-as-boundary appears repeatedly in philosophical and psychological treatments of IH, which frequently frame awareness of (epistemic) limitations as IH’s conceptual, metacognitive core (Leary et al., 2017; Porter, Elnakouri, et al., 2022). Yet as with a limit in mathematics, epistemic limits are appropriately defined as functions: their value is dependent on inputs (e.g., information environment, access to knowledge) that vary across contexts and individuals. Particularly, measuring IH requires identifying at least two quantities— one’s epistemic capabilities and one’s appraisal of said capabilities— from which a third, IH-qua-metacognition, can be derived as the distance between the two quantities.

Contemporary IH self-reports tend not to account for either parameter, seeming to rest instead on an auxiliary assumption: That people who are attuned to, and “own”, their epistemic limitations will generate characteristic, intellectually humble patterns of thinking and behavior. IH questionnaires then target these patterns, rather than the shared propensity for IH which the patterns ostensibly reflect.

We sought to both test and circumvent this assumption (and mono-method measurement limitation) in the present research. We did so by defining IH’s metacognitive core, functionally and statistically, in terms of calibration and resolution. We operationalized calibration as the convergence between participants’ performance on a series of epistemic tasks, on the one hand, and participants’ estimation of their own performance, on the other. Given that the relation between self-estimation and actual performance is non-linear (i.e., the Dunning-Kruger effect), there were several pathways by which IH might predict calibration: (1) decreased overestimation among low performers, (2) decreased underestimation among high performers, or (3) unilateral weakening of miscalibration among both low and high performers (for a visual representation, refer to Figure 1). Further, we operationalized epistemic resolution by assessing the relation between IH, on the one hand, individuals’ item-by-item confidence judgments for correct versus incorrect answers, on the other hand. Thus, resolution represents the capacity to distinguish between one’s correct and incorrect judgments and beliefs (a seemingly necessary prerequisite for building an accurate and calibrated model of one’s knowledge).

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Knowledge overconfidence is associated with anti-consensus views on controversial scientific issues

Light, N. et al. 
Science Advances, 20 Jul 2022
Vol 8, Issue 29
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0038


Public attitudes that are in opposition to scientific consensus can be disastrous and include rejection of vaccines and opposition to climate change mitigation policies. Five studies examine the interrelationships between opposition to expert consensus on controversial scientific issues, how much people actually know about these issues, and how much they think they know. Across seven critical issues that enjoy substantial scientific consensus, as well as attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and mitigation measures like mask wearing and social distancing, results indicate that those with the highest levels of opposition have the lowest levels of objective knowledge but the highest levels of subjective knowledge. Implications for scientists, policymakers, and science communicators are discussed.


Results from five studies show that the people who disagree most with the scientific consensus know less about the relevant issues, but they think they know more. These results suggest that this phenomenon is fairly general, although the relationships were weaker for some more polarized issues, particularly climate change. It is important to note that we document larger mismatches between subjective and objective knowledge among participants who are more opposed to the scientific consensus. Thus, although broadly consistent with the Dunning-Kruger effect and other research on knowledge miscalibration, our findings represent a pattern of relationships that goes beyond overconfidence among the least knowledgeable. However, the data are correlational, and the normal caveats apply.

A strength of these studies is the consistency of the main result across the overall models in studies 1 to 3 and specific (but different) instantiations of anti-consensus attitudes about COVID-19 in studies 4 and 5. Additional strengths are that study 5 is a conceptual replication of study 4 (and studies 1 to 3 more generally) using different measures and operationalizations of the main constructs, conducted by an initially independent group of researchers (with each group unaware of the research of the other during study development and data collection). The final two studies were also collected approximately 2 months apart, in July and September 2020, respectively. These two collection periods reflect the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with cases in July trending upward and cases in September flat or trending downward. The consistency of our effects across these 2 months suggests that the pattern of results is fairly robust.

One possible interpretation of these relationships is that the people who appear to be overconfident in their knowledge and extreme in their opposition to the consensus are actually reporting their sense of understanding for a set of incorrect alternative facts not those of the scientific community. After all, nonscientific explanations and theories tend to be much simpler and less mechanistic than scientific ones.  As a result, participants could be reporting higher levels of understanding for what are, in fact, simpler interpretations. However, we believe that several elements of this research speak against this interpretation fully explaining the results. First, the battery of objective knowledge questions is sufficiently broad, simple, and removed (at first glance) from the corresponding scientific issues. For example, not knowing that “the skin is the largest organ in the human body” does not suggest that participants hold alternative views about how the human body works; it suggests the lack of real knowledge about the body. We also believe that it does not cue participants to the fact that the question is related to vaccination. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Dunning–Kruger effects in reasoning: Theoretical implications of the failure to recognize incompetence

Pennycook, G., Ross, R.M., Koehler, D.J. et al. 
Psychon Bull Rev 24, 1774–1784 (2017). 


The Dunning–Kruger effect refers to the observation that the incompetent are often ill-suited to recognize their incompetence. Here we investigated potential Dunning–Kruger effects in high-level reasoning and, in particular, focused on the relative effectiveness of metacognitive monitoring among particularly biased reasoners. Participants who made the greatest numbers of errors on the cognitive reflection test (CRT) overestimated their performance on this test by a factor of more than 3. Overestimation decreased as CRT performance increased, and those who scored particularly high underestimated their performance. Evidence for this type of systematic miscalibration was also found on a self-report measure of analytic-thinking disposition. Namely, genuinely nonanalytic participants (on the basis of CRT performance) overreported their “need for cognition” (NC), indicating that they were dispositionally analytic when their objective performance indicated otherwise. Furthermore, estimated CRT performance was just as strong a predictor of NC as was actual CRT performance. Our results provide evidence for Dunning–Kruger effects both in estimated performance on the CRT and in self-reported analytic-thinking disposition. These findings indicate that part of the reason why people are biased is that they are either unaware of or indifferent to their own bias.

General discussion

Our results provide empirical support for Dunning–Kruger effects in both estimates of reasoning performance and self-reported thinking disposition. Particularly intuitive individuals greatly overestimated their performance on the CRT—a tendency that diminished and eventually reversed among increasingly analytic individuals. Moreover, self-reported analytic-thinking disposition—as measured by the Ability and Engagement subscales of the NC scale—was just as strongly (if not more strongly) correlated with estimated CRT performance than with actual CRT performance. In addition, an analysis using an additional performance-based measure of analytic thinking—the heuristics-and-biases battery—revealed a systematic miscalibration of self-reported NC, wherein relatively intuitive individuals report that they are more analytic than is justified by their objective performance. Together, these findings indicate that participants who are low in analytic thinking (so-called “intuitive thinkers”) are at least somewhat unaware of (or unresponsive to) their propensity to rely on intuition in lieu of analytic thought during decision making. This conclusion is consistent with previous research that has suggested that the propensity to think analytically facilitates metacognitive monitoring during reasoning (Pennycook et al., 2015b; Thompson & Johnson, 2014). Those who are genuinely analytic are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their reasoning, whereas those who are genuinely nonanalytic are perhaps best described as “happy fools” (De Neys et al., 2013).

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Southern Baptists are forcing out followers who don’t pledge allegiance to Trump

John Gallagher
Originally published 23 May 2021

White evangelicals have always been the core of Donald Trump’s support. Once they got over their unease with his fungible approach to morality, conservative Christians found in Trump the political warrior — or mega-bully — that they have long been seeking. The only thing they disliked about him was that he curses.

After acting like a political party through the Trump presidency, it’s no surprise that evangelicals are now following the GOP’s template of purging their ranks of anyone who does not worship at Trump’s altar. The latest case in point: the departure of Russell Moore from the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Moore held one of the top positions in evangelical Christianity. As head of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, he has been a fervent advocate for the denomination’s right-wing positions. He has been a staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights, especially marriage equality, and has pushed hard for religious liberty exemptions that would gut existing protections.

However, Moore has never been a fan of Donald Trump. Unlike other prominent evangelicals, like Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins, Moore was unwilling to trade his religious beliefs for access to power and Supreme Court appointments.

When Trump was running for president in 2016, Moore accurately described him as “someone who not only characterizes sexual decadence and misogyny, brokers in cruelty and nativism, and displays a crazed public and private temperament — but who glories in these things.”

For his honesty, Moore very nearly lost his job in 2017. Now he’s leaving, apparently voluntarily, as the SBC makes adherence to Trumpism a higher priority than adherence to articles of faith.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Trump's Strangest Lie: A Plague of Suicides Under His Watch

Gilad Edelman
Originally published 23 Oct 2020

IN LAST NIGHT’S presidential debate, Donald Trump repeated one of his more unorthodox reelection pitches. “People are losing their jobs,” he said. “They’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.”

It’s strange to hear an incumbent president declare, as an argument in his own favor, that a wave of suicides is occurring under his watch. It’s even stranger given that it’s not true. While Trump has been warning since March that any pandemic lockdowns would lead to “suicides by the thousands,” several studies from abroad have found that when governments imposed such restrictions in the early waves of the pandemic, there was no corresponding increase in these deaths. In fact, suicide rates may even have declined. A preprint study released earlier this week found that the suicide rate in Massachusetts didn’t budge even as that state imposed a strong stay-at-home order in March, April, and May.


Add this to the list of tragic ironies of the Trump era: The president is using the nonexistent link between lockdowns and suicide to justify an agenda that really could cause more people to take their own lives.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Trump lied about science

H. Holden Thorp
Originally published 11 Sept 20

When President Donald Trump began talking to the public about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in February and March, scientists were stunned at his seeming lack of understanding of the threat. We assumed that he either refused to listen to the White House briefings that must have been occurring or that he was being deliberately sheltered from information to create plausible deniability for federal inaction. Now, because famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward recorded him, we can hear Trump’s own voice saying that he understood precisely that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was deadly and spread through the air. As he was playing down the virus to the public, Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people. These lies demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States.

Over the years, this page has commented on the scientific foibles of U.S. presidents. Inadequate action on climate change and environmental degradation during both Republican and Democratic administrations have been criticized frequently. Editorials have bemoaned endorsements by presidents on teaching intelligent design, creationism, and other antiscience in public schools. These matters are still important. But now, a U.S. president has deliberately lied about science in a way that was imminently dangerous to human health and directly led to widespread deaths of Americans.

This may be the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy.

In an interview with Woodward on 7 February 2020, Trump said he knew that COVID-19 was more lethal than the flu and that it spread through the air. “This is deadly stuff,” he said. But on 9 March, he tweeted that the “common flu” was worse than COVID-19, while economic advisor Larry Kudlow and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway assured the public that the virus was contained. On 19 March, Trump told Woodward that he did not want to level with the American people about the danger of the virus. “I wanted to always play it down,” he said, “I still like playing it down.” Playing it down meant lying about the fact that he knew the country was in grave danger.

The info is here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Poll: Most Americans believe the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is driven by politics, not science

Ed Silverman
Originally published 31 August 20

Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely.

The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries, according to the poll, which was conducted last week and surveyed 2,067 American adults.

The sentiment underscores rising speculation that President Trump may pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Nov. 3 election, but before testing has been fully completed.

Concerns intensified in recent days after Trump suggested in a tweet that the FDA is part of a “deep state” conspiracy to sabotage his reelection bid. In a speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, he pledged that the administration “will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner.”

The info is here.

Please see top line: 80% of Americans surveyed worry that approving vaccine too quickly would worry about safety.  The implication is that fewer people would choose the vaccine if safety is an issue.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Trump Shatters Ethics Norms By Making Official Acts Part Of GOP Convention

Sam Gringlas
Originally posted 26 August 20

Here is an excerpt:

As part of Tuesday night's prime-time convention programming, Trump granted a presidential pardon from the White House. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared from Jerusalem, where he was on official state business, to make a campaign speech with the Old City as backdrop. First lady Melania Trump delivered a speech from the White House Rose Garden. And acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf performed a naturalization ceremony on television as Trump looked on.

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in most political activity inside federal buildings or while on duty. Though the president and vice president are exempt from the civil provisions of the Hatch Act, federal employees like Pompeo, Wolf and any executive branch employees who helped stage the events are not.

Ethics watchdogs harshly criticized Trump's merging of official and campaign acts during the Tuesday night telecast.

"The Hatch Act was the wall standing between the government's might and candidates. Tonight a candidate tore down that wall and wielded power for his own campaign," tweeted Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Shaub left the office in 2017 after clashing with the Trump administration over the president's failure to divest from his businesses.

This summer, Pompeo and top State Department officials sent memos to employees reminding them they must be careful to adhere to the Hatch Act. Another memo said, "Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event." That description also applies to Pompeo.

Richard Haass, the longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations who has served in several Republican administrations, said it's inappropriate for a secretary of state to appear at a political convention while serving as the nation's top diplomat.

The info is here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Scathing COVID-19 book from Lancet editor — rushed but useful

Stephen Buranyi
Originally posted 18 June 20

Here is an excerpt:

Horton levels the accusation that US President Donald Trump is committing a “crime against humanity” for defunding the very World Health Organization that is trying to help the United States and others. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Horton’s view, either lied or committed misconduct in telling the public that the government was well prepared for the pandemic. In fact, the UK government abandoned the world-standard advice to test, trace and isolate in March, with no explanation, then scrambled to ramp up testing in April, but repeatedly failed to meet its own targets, lagging weeks behind the rest of the world. A BBC investigation in April showed that the UK government failed to stockpile neccessary personal protective equipment for years before the crisis, and should have been aware that the National Health Service wasn’t adequately prepared.

Politicians are easy targets, though. Horton goes further, to suggest that although scientists in general have performed admirably, many of those advising the government directly contributed to what he calls “the greatest science policy failure for a generation”.

Again using the United Kingdom as an example, he suggests that researchers were insufficiently informed or understanding of the crisis unfolding in China, and were too insular to speak to Chinese scientists directly. The model for action at times seemed to be influenza, a drastic underestimation of the true threat of the new coronavirus. Worse, as the UK government’s response went off the rails in March, ostensibly independent scientists would “speak with one voice in support of government policy”, keeping up the facade that the country was doing well. In Horton’s view, this is a corruption of science policymaking at every level. Individuals failed in their responsibility to procure the best scientific advice, he contends; and the advisory regime was too close to — and in sync with — the political actors who were making decisions. “Advisors became the public relations wing of a government that had failed its people,” he concludes.

The text is here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Prejudiced and unaware of it: Evidence for the Dunning-Kruger model in the domains of racism and sexism

K. West and A. A. Eaton
Personality and Individual Differences
Volume 146, 1 August 2019, Pages 111-119


Prior research, and high-prolife contemporary examples, show that individuals tend to underestimate their own levels of bias. This underestimation is partially explained by motivational factors. However, (meta-) cognitive factors may also be involved. Conceptualising contemporary egalitarianism as type of skill or competence, this research proposed that egalitarianism should conform to the Dunning-Kruger model. That is, individuals should overestimate their own ability, and this overestimation should be strongest in the least competent individuals. Furthermore, training should improve metacognition and reduce this overestimation. Two studies on racism (N = 148), and sexism (N = 159) partially supported these hypotheses. In line with the Dunning-Kruger model, participants overestimated their levels of racial and gender-based egalitarianism, and this pattern was strongest among the most prejudiced participants. However, diversity training did not affect participants' overestimation of their egalitarianism. Implications for contemporary prejudice, and prejudice-reducing strategies are discussed.



For many reasons, contemporary discussions of prejudice can be quite acrimonious. Members of socially advantaged groups may find such discussions difficult, unpleasant, or threatening Apfelbaum, Pauker, Ambady, Sommers, & Norton, 2008; Dover, Major, & Kaiser, 2016; Norton et al., 2006). Political divisions may lead members of both advantaged and disadvantaged groups to attribute overly negative motivations to the other group (Goff et al., 2014; Reeder, 2005; Taber, Brook, & Franklin, 2006). Motivation certainly forms an important part of the picture. However, this research suggests that, even if such motivational considerations were accounted for, there may be important cognitive hindrances to understanding and reducing prejudice that would have to be addressed. In line with the Dunning-Kruger model, this research found that very prejudiced individuals (i.e., those low in egalitarianism) may be genuinely unaware of their shortcomings because they lack the meta-cognition necessary to perceive them. It is thus possible that some solutions to contemporary prejudice may rely less on motivation and more on education.

The research is here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How Trump failed the biggest test of his life

Ed Pilkington & Tom McCarty
The Guardian
Originally posted 29 Mar 20

Here is an excerpt:

Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China.

More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died.

Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea.

“The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. “What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”

Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the US government’s response to international disasters at USAid from 2013 to 2017, frames the past six weeks in strikingly similar terms. He told the Guardian: “We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.”

In Konyndyk’s analysis, the White House had all the information it needed by the end of January to act decisively. Instead, Trump repeatedly played down the severity of the threat, blaming China for what he called the “Chinese virus” and insisting falsely that his partial travel bans on China and Europe were all it would take to contain the crisis.

The info is here.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Trump administration’s botched coronavirus response

PressTVGerman Lopez
Updated 25 March 20

Here is an excerpt:

It’s also something that the federal government has done well before — recently, with H1N1 and Zika. “It’s been surprising to me that the administration’s had a hard time executing on some of these things,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, previously told me.

But it’s the kind of thing that the Trump administration has screwed up, while instead trying to downplay the threat of Covid-19. Trump himself has tweeted comparisons of Covid-19 to the common flu — which Jha describes as “really unhelpful,” because the novel coronavirus appears to be much worse. Trump also called concerns about the virus a “hoax.” He said on national television that, based on nothing more than a self-admitted “hunch,” the death rate of the disease is much lower than public health officials projected.

And Trump has rejected any accountability for the botched testing process: “I don’t take responsibility at all,” he said this month.

Jha described the Trump administration’s messaging so far as “deeply disturbing,” adding that it’s “left the country far less prepared than it needs to be for what is a very substantial challenge ahead.”

Even as the Trump administration has tried to escalate its efforts to combat the pandemic, Trump has continued to downplay concerns. Recently, he’s suggested that social distancing measures — asking people to stay home and keep their physical distance from one another — could be lifted within weeks, instead of the months experts say is likely necessary. “What a great timeline that would be,” Trump said.

The info is here.

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Dunning-Kruger effect, or why the ignorant think they’re experts

Alexandru Micu
Originally posted 13 Feb 20

Here is an excerpt:

It’s not specific only to technical skills but plagues all walks of human existence equally. One study found that 80% of drivers rate themselves as above average, which is literally impossible because that’s not how averages work. We tend to gauge our own relative popularity the same way.

It isn’t limited to people with low or nonexistent skills in a certain matter, either — it works on pretty much all of us. In their first study, Dunning and Kruger also found that students who scored in the top quartile (25%) routinely underestimated their own competence.

A fuller definition of the Dunning-Kruger effect would be that it represents a bias in estimating our own ability that stems from our limited perspective. When we have a poor or nonexistent grasp on a topic, we literally know too little of it to understand how little we know. Those who do possess the knowledge or skills, however, have a much better idea of where they sit. But they also think that if a task is clear and simple to them, it must be so for everyone else as well.

A person in the first group and one in the second group are equally liable to use their own experience and background as the baseline and kinda just take it for granted that everyone is near that baseline. They both partake in the “illusion of confidence” — for one, that confidence is in themselves, for the other, in everyone else.

The info is here.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Trump eyes mental institutions as answer to gun violence

Kevin Freking
Associated Press
Originally published August 30, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

But Trump’s support for new “mental institutions” is drawing pushback from many in the mental health profession who say that approach would do little to reduce mass shootings in the United States and incorrectly associates mental illness with violence.

Paul Gionfriddo, president and chief executive of the advocacy group Mental Health America, said Trump is pursuing a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.

“Anybody with any sense of history understands they were a complete failure. They were money down the drain,” said Gionfriddo.

The number of state hospital beds that serve the nation’s most seriously ill patients has fallen from more than 550,000 in the 1950s to fewer than 38,000 in the first half of 2016, according to a survey from the Treatment Advocacy Center, which seeks policies to overcome barriers to treatment.

John Snook, the group’s executive director, said Trump’s language “hasn’t been helpful to the broader conversation.” But he said the president has hit on an important problem — a shortage of beds for the serious mentally ill.

“There are headlines every day in almost every newspaper talking about the consequences of not having enough hospital beds, huge numbers of people in jails, homelessness and ridiculously high treatment costs because we’re trying to help people in crisis care,” Snook said.

The info is here.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Missed Opportunity for the Malpractice System to Improve Health Care

Aaron Carroll
The New York Times
Originally posted May 27, 2019

Here are two excerpts:

First, the good news: These doctors quit at higher rates than other physicians. And they also tend not to pick up and move somewhere else to start fresh (which many thought they’d do given that licenses and malpractice are regulated at the state level).

But the overwhelming majority of doctors who had five or more paid claims kept on going. And they also moved to solo practice and small groups more often, where there’s even less oversight, so those problematic doctors may produce even worse outcomes.

We have long known that some doctors are likelier than others to be sued. Those who practice in certain higher-risk specialties — like surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency medicine — are more likely to be sued than those in lower-risk specialties like family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry. Men are more likely to be sued than women. Lawsuits seem to peak when doctors are around 40.


Those who accumulated more claims were more likely to stop practicing medicine. Even though they were more likely to retire, more than 90 percent of doctors who had at least five claims were still in practice.

Physicians with more claims were also not any more likely than those with fewer or no complaints to move to another state and continue practicing. This is actually one of the reasons the practitioner data bank was created — to prevent doctors from running away from their history by moving between states. In that respect, it appears to be working.

What’s worrisome, though, is that physicians with more claims shifted their type of practice. Those with five or more claims had more than twice the odds of moving into solo practice.

The info is here.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Partisanship, Political Knowledge, and the Dunning‐Kruger Effect

Ian G. Anson
Political Psychology
First published: 02 April 2018


A widely cited finding in social psychology holds that individuals with low levels of competence will judge themselves to be higher achieving than they really are. In the present study, I examine how the so‐called “Dunning‐Kruger effect” conditions citizens' perceptions of political knowledgeability. While low performers on a political knowledge task are expected to engage in overconfident self‐placement and self‐assessment when reflecting on their performance, I also expect the increased salience of partisan identities to exacerbate this phenomenon due to the effects of directional motivated reasoning. Survey experimental results confirm the Dunning‐Kruger effect in the realm of political knowledge. They also show that individuals with moderately low political expertise rate themselves as increasingly politically knowledgeable when partisan identities are made salient. This below‐average group is also likely to rely on partisan source cues to evaluate the political knowledge of peers. In a concluding section, I comment on the meaning of these findings for contemporary debates about rational ignorance, motivated reasoning, and political polarization.

Friday, July 6, 2018

People who think their opinions are superior to others are most prone to overestimating their relevant knowledge and ignoring chances to learn more

Tom Stafford
Blog Post: Research Digest
Originally posted May 31, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Finally and more promisingly, the researchers found some evidence that belief superiority can be dented by feedback. If participants were told that people with beliefs like theirs tended to score poorly on topic knowledge, or if they were directly told that their score on the topic knowledge quiz was low, this not only reduced their belief superiority, it also caused them to seek out the kind of challenging information they had previously neglected in the headlines task (though the evidence for this behavioural effect was mixed).

The studies all involved participants accessed via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, allowing the researchers to work with large samples of Americans for each experiment. Their findings mirror the well-known Dunning-Kruger effect – Kruger and Dunning showed that for domains such as judgments of grammar, humour or logic, the most skilled tend to underestimate their ability, while the least skilled overestimate it. Hall and Raimi’s research extends this to the realm of political opinions (where objective assessment of correctness is not available), showing that the belief your opinion is better than other people’s tends to be associated with overestimation of your relevant knowledge.

The article is here.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

How to Counter the Circus of Pseudoscience

Lisa Pryor
The New York Times
Originally published January 5, 2018

Here are two excerpts:

In the face of such doubt, it is not surprising that some individuals, even those who are intelligent and well educated, are swept away by the breezy confidence of health gurus, who are full of passionate intensity while the qualified lack all conviction, to borrow from Yeats.

It is a cognitive bias known in psychology as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. In short, the less you know, the less able you are to recognize how little you know, so the less likely you are to recognize your errors and shortcomings. For the highly skilled, like trained scientists, the opposite is true: The more you know, the more likely you are to see how little you know. This is truly a cognitive bias for our time.


Engaging is difficult when the alternative-health proponents are on such a different astral plane that it is a challenge even to find common language for a conversation, especially when they promote spurious concepts such as “pyrrole disease,” which they can speak about in great, false detail, drawing the well-informed physician, dietitian or scientist into a vortex of personal anecdote and ancient wisdom, with quips about big pharma thrown in for good measure.

The information is here.