Can You Evaluate Your Own Abilities?

A Cornell psychologist explains why it’s almost impossible to judge your own competence — and how to overcome the blind spots.

David Dunning

One of the pet phrases I have is “The road to self-insight runs through other people.” Other people can often give us invaluable feedback that can really correct an illusion that we’re suffering from.

One of my favorite, but most chilling, findings is from a study that surveyed surgical residents. They were asked about their surgical skills, and then they were given the standardized board exam. … [ Read more ]

David Dunning

Giving feedback is a tricky business, and nearly 40% of feedback programs actually demotivate people. There is a skill to be learned here, and there are two things we can do to give feedback that’s motivating, accurate, and tactful. The first thing is to give feedback that is concrete, as opposed to feedback that’s about the person’s character. You want to talk at the behavioral … [ Read more ]