Dunning-Kruger effect

The worst part about a crunch is the toll it takes on the people. Everyone starts to get tired and cranky (shame programmers don’t have cheerleaders). Anyway, for whatever reason my mind wandered over to the Dunning-Kruger effect taken from wikipedia (I know I know, I will try and find a better site for sourcing):

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the meatcognitive ability to appreciate their mistakes.The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning 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”

A lot of attitudes come out of a crunch, more often than not poor attitudes, with people being “thrown under the bus” or “getting yelled at”. It is sad really, but such is the nature of business. The Dunning-Kruger effect is important to think about, during this time, as everyone seems to have an opinion at these times. However, it is also important to consider this related to your own abilities.

How much do you know about a subject? It has been suggested that it requires around 10,000 hours for mastering something (which in most cases is ~10 years). The game dev community is fairly young, and finding a lot of people with 10+ years in a specific field is rare, couple that with the enormous amount of research and different elements that game dev and tech art consists of and you will never find someone who has mastered it all. I always like to compare know-it-alls to the socratic intelligence, where claiming to know nothing is considered the greatest intelligence:

“I know that I know nothing”
Social gadfly · Trial of Socrates

This is a much better attitude in my opinion, as it leaves you open to possibilities that you never would have considered before. It can get a little cheesy if you take it too far, but still it is good to consider all options and occassionally the source of opinions too.

Do I know that I know nothing?
Michael Hubbard

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