The DK Effect

Anyone else noticed the correlation between the Dunning-Kruger effect and the perception that raiders have of each other? Or that the hypothesis of Dunning-Kruger’s studies has applications to raiding as well as business and life in general?

Or that Death Knight and Dunning-Kruger share the same initials? Coincidence, I think not. 🙂

I came across this term while researching a tool that allows better testing and interviewing for software developers.

The theory goes that generally a potential interviewee (or raider, home handyman, or whatever) will over estimate their importance and skill, and often not be able to see their deficiencies. Further the more skilled a practitioner generally the lower they rate their own skill level.

This creates an odd situation where the interviewer cannot be sure of which type of candidate they are seeing without an involved set of questions and tasks, and sometimes the person will fail utterly to answer basic questions, but still think their skill level is acceptable.

Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

  1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
  2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
  4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.

Dunning has since drawn an analogy (“the anosognosia of everyday life”) to a condition in which a person who suffers a physical disability due to brain injury seems unaware of or denies the existence of the disability, even for dramatic impairments such as blindness or paralysis.

It is like Kruger and Dunning were raiders in our old 10 man groups and got so sick of the wipes so decided to apply some science and developed a theory to match what we were seeing!

Now I’m not perfect, in fact I’m far from it and make mistakes on a regular basis. I think I am typical of the competent raiders out there; you know…normal. But then apply this hypothesis and it could be that I am a failure as a raider, and the DK bubble in my own perception keeps the excuses from ever really surfacing in my mind as my issue, or a myriad of other reasons from allowing me to accept the game and player feedback which is what is needed to improve.

It is an awesome hypothesis that I’ve seen in effect many times; especially in mid-level DKs and Hunters.


An example article of Dunning-Kruger, as it related to climate change (for the sake of a totally off-topic example which might serve as a better illustration of the effect).

Ok maybe too much science and not enough “kill-dragons”, but I found it interesting none the less.

Happy “smelling the fear, chasing down the enemy, and running them through”…